VAN WERT – During Monday's City Council meeting, Haven of Hope was temporarily given the go-ahead to open a shelter at 233 N. Market St. in lieu of Gov. Mike DeWine's "stay at home" order in regard to the coronavirus pandemic. The order includes a provision that asks local municipalities to provide shelter for the homeless.

However, with on-going renovation at 233 N. Market St., Haven of Hope is unable to provide shelter at that location.

Haven of Hope released the following statement:

Logistically, the Haven of Hope building is under construction and we do not have most of the supplies that we need to open an emergency shelter. Another issue is in the area of volunteers. We would need four times the amount of volunteers as we would during normal circumstances, and we feel that is too much to ask of our community. We are also running up against a time deadline during the “Stay at Home” order that is set to expire on April 6, which is less than two weeks away.

We have inquired about other properties to use but run into the same challenges. For these reasons, we cannot use those facilities as an emergency homeless shelter during the pandemic. In the meantime, we will begin to gather any donations and make use of some motel space that is available.

We ask homeless individuals and families to please contact us and complete an intake either with a Haven of Hope board member or with NOCAC, depending on the homeless person(s) current situation. NOCAC (419-990-5135) has more services available and may be able to get people into rental housing. We will then make the arrangements for them to stay in a local motel.

If you are homeless, or would like to make a donation, you can contact Haven of Hope between 9 a.m-3 p.m. at 419-605-6717. If you are willing to volunteer during or after the pandemic, complete the volunteer application found on our Facebook page."