Homeless shelter gets OK to reopen

March 11, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - After passing a safety inspection Wednesday, the New Hope Shelter in Waynesboro will be able to reopen Monday.

Jerry Hartman, fire marshal for the borough of Waynesboro, said Wednesday he and Douglas Pyle, the city building inspector, checked the four-story building at 25 S. Potomac St. and found only "very minor violations" of the borough's fire code. None was serious enough to deny the request to reopen, Hartman said.

He said he was very pleased with the condition of the building.

"It's in great shape compared to what it was in September," Pyle said. "We are both impressed with what they did."


Pyle said the fire alarms in the building worked perfectly when tested Wednesday.

Hartman ordered the shelter closed and its 42 residents evicted within 24 hours in September when an inspection showed that none of the fire alarms in the building was working.

Hartman's order put tenants on the street the same day that Tropical Storm Isabel was supposed to hit the area. Shelter officials eventually found emergency homes for all 42 residents.

Hartman's permission Wednesday to reopen the shelter is provisional in that it only can operate as an emergency cold weather shelter from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The provision will stay in place until Hartman inspects the building again April 1. If everything checks out, the shelter can reopen as a full-service facility, he said.

It has two dorms - one for males and one for females - and four rooms large enough to hold families.

Peg Spangler, a member of the shelter's board of directors, said only one of the 42 residents evicted in September wants to return in April.

There is no waiting list of people who want to move in, she said.

"We've had a few phone calls," Spangler said.

The shelter has faced financial problems from the time it opened in April 2003.

Spangler said the shelter has enough money to operate for two to three months but depends on donations.

Anyone wishing to donate,may call the shelter at 717-762-5840.

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