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Volunteers help spruce up shelter

November 17, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The nearly completed work at the New Hope Shelter was done by a cadre of volunteers, mostly from 12 area churches that also helped to pay for the materials.

The shelter at 25 S. Potomac St. was closed Oct. 1 when the renovations began. It is expected to reopen in two weeks, Kathy Dietsch, its volunteer executive director, said Wednesday.

The work involved new flooring throughout most of the resident quarters. Volunteers pulled up old floors and laid down new vinyl tiles and sheets in the family living quarters, male and female dormitories, laundry and dining rooms. Work is still going on in the kitchen and several other areas in the shelter, Dietsch said.

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Just about every wall in the place is sporting a new coat of paint. All of the family rooms, on orders of the borough fire marshal, have new rear doors for quick exit in event of emergencies, she said.

The Franklin County Commissioners gave the shelter a $7,500 Housing Rehabilitation Grant to spend on the renovations.

The shelter, when full, can house up to 50 men, women and children.

Administratively, things are changing at the facility, too. The shelter has a new board of directors and hopes to add four more to bring the board's membership total to 12.

New rules for residents also are in place, Dietsch said.

Residents can stay up to 30 days unless shelter officials are convinced that they are making progress toward getting their lives straightened out. If so, their stay can be extended, she said.

The shelter marked National Homeless Week with an awards ceremony Wednesday at Christ United Methodist Church at 6 W. Second St.

Shelter officials marked the event by recognizing the individuals and churches that have been helping to keep it functioning.

Speakers included Dietsch, Donna Steiner from the Waynesboro Area Human Services Council; Peg Spangler, New Hope Shelter; Natalie Newcomer, Maranatha Counseling Services; Wayne Kuhns, Spring of Hope Prayer Counseling Ministry and Rosalie Lerner, Homeless Assistance Program.

Waynesboro Mayor Louis Barlup attended the awards ceremony and reported on it to the Borough Council Wednesday night.

The program was held to "recognize the services in the Waynesboro area that are available to the needy or homeless," he said. "They include help with parenting, nutrition, money management, tutoring, shelter, clothing, medicine and transportation."

"I must say," said Council President Harold Mumma, "that I did not have favorable comments on the shelter in the past year, but I was very impressed with what I saw today. I have every reason to believe that they will make a go of it. They're learning to walk before they run and they have a fair, firm set of regulations."

Many of the shelter's residents "are down and out through no fault of their own," Mumma said. "For others, it's a way of life that we have to accept."

"The shelter has turned the corner and will be a good addition to the community," Councilman John Cook said.

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