Deacon Andy McMahon and Kurt Tomlinson pose together at the Haven of Hope booth at the Van Wert County Fair. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Deacon Andy McMahon and Kurt Tomlinson pose together at the Haven of Hope booth at the Van Wert County Fair. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – Deacon Andy McMahon said at the Van Wert County Fair over the weekend that the Haven of Hope Shelter of Van Wert is working to finalize a location for a men’s shelter.

McMahon said that the proposed shelter will be located in the downtown area and will be a building close to 1,500 square feet.

“The biggest challenge right now is that the State of Ohio wants the shelter to have a sprinkler system,” said McMahon. “It would be very expensive for a building of that nature in downtown to have a sprinkler system.”

“We want to get a certificate of occupancy before we take operation,” commented Kurt Tomlinson, also assisting with the project. “We need to have that before we move ahead.”

The Haven of Hope Shelter of Van Wert is a community of Christians who have come together to help displaced individual and families in Van Wert County by providing a place to stay. The community involved in this project wishes to outline ongoing guidance to obtain the resources to embrace the next chapter of their lives.

McMahon said that in the first quarter of 2019, there were 22 requests for help with housing in Van Wert County to Love Inc. McMahon noted that one-fourth of the people experiencing homelessness in Van Wert County are children.

“Our need in Van Wert County is greater than the surrounding five counties combined, according to the Northwest Ohio Community Action Commission,” said McMahon.

Board members are suggesting that the best ways to get involved include praying, attending Community Board Meetings, inviting board members to speak at various organizations and churches, donating and signing up for email updates.

Types of homelessness include couch surfing, doubling up where two families live together out of economic necessity, car-habitation, sheltered in a tent on the street, which causes health issues, shelter life and homeless at home.

“Many youth and adults come home to an empty fridge, sleep on the couch, and have no guidance. This is being homeless at home,” said McMahon.

On Sept. 22 from 1-4 p.m., the Haven of Hope is sponsoring a bowling tournament in the Van Wert Olympic games.

Those interested are encouraged to form a team to support the event. Registration is $20 per person with teams of five people. There is a limit to 16 teams. The event will also sport raffles and door prizes.

Haven of Hope may be contacted at 419-605-6717 at 216 E. Central Ave., Van Wert or by contacting vwchavenofhope@gmail.com.