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Shelter getting ready to offer new hope

December 05, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Things are taking shape at the Waynesboro New Hope Shelter, the homeless shelter that a Waynesboro real estate broker has been trying to open for nearly a year.

Friday night about 40 volunteers were scurrying about the old factory building at 25 S. Potomac St. They scraped old paint off brick walls, installed tiles on a newly dropped ceiling and dragged in 455 pieces of sheet rock that had just been left on the sidewalk outside by a tractor-trailer.

"We're going to be working here all night tonight and all day tomorrow," said Violet Schmid, the force behind the project. She said about 200 people have signed up to volunteer.

Schmid, owner of a local real estate and travel office, is chairwoman of the shelter's board of directors. She hopes the first floor of the three-story former factory building will be turned into a shelter for Tri-State area homeless people by the first of the year.

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She and her husband, Gerry, a local building contractor, bought the building for $80,000. A Greencastle, Pa., bank issued a $20,000 mortgage on the property and the owner holds a note for $60,000, Schmid said.

Finding contractors and volunteers to donate time and materials and people to donate furniture and clothes is greatly appreciated, Schmid said. But it falls short of what is really needed to get the shelter up and running.

"We need money," Schmid said. It will cost $50,000 to convert the first floor of the 30,000-square-foot building into a 72-bed shelter, she said. She has collected about $10,000 so far.

Dormitories will line both sides of the long first-floor room. In between will be bathrooms and five private rooms, Schmid said.

The kitchen will be in the rear of the building. A small teen recreation center will be built beside the kitchen, Schmid said.

She said the volunteers will work every Saturday through the end of the year so the shelter can be ready for its first occupants after Jan. 1.

Among the contractors donating materials and time Friday night were Dennis Urban and Michael Emory. Both are paint contractors. They were getting ready to spray paint the interior walls Friday night.

"I've never done anything like this before," Emory said. "I thought I'd like to help out someone less fortunate than me."

For more information on the shelter, call 1-717-762-4800.

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