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House of Hope campaign aims to build new homeless shelter

| January 24, 2022
Pictured from left are Joe Svancara, board president of Friends of the Homeless; Jeff Mathias, chairman of the Capital Campaign Committee; and Jack Ream, founder of the Tuscarawas County homeless shelter. (courtesy of Joe Svancara)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (January 24, 2022) – Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County has started a fundraising campaign to build a new shelter. The First Presbyterian Church in New Philadelphia owns the existing shelter at 211 E. High Ave. Pastor Joe Svancara, also the president of the Friends of the Homeless board, says it is in disrepair.

“It’s just not a good place for a homeless shelter,” he said. “Right now, the building is in a deteriorating condition. Upkeep and maintenance are taking a huge chuck out of our budget and it’s just not suitable – the construction style – in order to try to rehab it.”

The campaign – called House of Hope: Rebuilding Lives – is in its early stages. Svancara says they hope to raise $8 million to $10 million in two to three years through private donations. He says they already have architectural plans. The board is looking for three to five acres in Dover or New Philadelphia to build the new facility.

He says the new shelter would house 30 to 40 people, including men, women, families and victims of domestic violence. Svancara says federal statistics indicate there are around 100 homeless people in Tuscarawas County daily. Donations to the campaign can be sent to Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County, attention House of Hope: Rebuilding Lives, P.O. Box 466 in New Philadelphia.

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