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Homeless shelter cleared to reopen

April 08, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. - A final inspection of the New Hope Shelter at 25 S. Potomac St. Wednesday showed that the homeless facility has corrected all fire code violations that forced it to close in September, Waynesboro Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman said.

Hartman and Douglas Pyle, the borough's building inspector, went through the four-story former textile factory building Wednesday morning.

"They're good to go. They've completed everything on our list and they can open anytime they want," Hartman said.

He said the facility looks much better than it did in September when he ordered it closed and its then 42 residents evicted when an inspection showed that the building's fire alarm system wasn't working.

That inspection also found a long list of fire code violations, including fire hazards on the upper floors stemming from piles of clothing, furniture and other combustible materials stacked up in heaps.

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The eviction notice was ordered on the same day that Tropical Storm Isabel was supposed to hit the area.

Shelter officials managed to find temporary housing for the evicted residents.

Last month, Hartman, following an inspection that turned up only minor violations, allowed the building to open as an emergency cold weather shelter that allowed residents to stay only overnight.

The last four tenants who took advantage of the facility under those terms left this week, Frank Kocek, interim director of the shelter, said Wednesday.

He said so far only three people have applied to come in. "We're doing background checks on them now and they could move in before the weekend," Kocek said.

"Hopefully, we won't fill up right away," he said.

The shelter has five rooms equipped for families and two dormitories - one for males, the other for females - that can accommodate up to 16 people each, Kocek said.

The shelter has been struggling financially since it opened a year ago and is still barely holding its own, officials have said.

It currently has enough money to operate for two to three months, shelter officials have said.

Anyone wishing to donate to the shelter can call 717-762-5840.

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