Churches, Pottstown Officials Seek Balance in Serving Homeless Population, Revitalizing Neighborhoods


Churches in Pottstown and borough officials are attempting to find a balance between best serving the needy and revitalizing the neighborhoods, writes Chad Pradelli for 6abc.

Housing and feeding the homeless has been a mission for Beacon of Hope since it was founded.

However, the nonprofit which operates out of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ recently received a cease-and-desist order from Pottstown Borough. The notice resulted from its lack of zoning approval for a temporary shelter.

“The reason for it is there’s no zoning available for homeless shelters,” said Tom Niarhos, who operates Beacon of Hope.

He added that in previous years, the borough did not have issues with its work. It even approved a use variance to build a permanent 24/7 shelter on a nearby property, a project on which construction has yet to begin.

According to the cease-and-desist order, Beacon of Hope did not file the required paperwork for a temporary pop-up shelter.

In a statement, a borough representative said it is trying to both revitalize Pottstown and serve the needs of the needy, but that businesses and organizations — religious or not — must follow the law.

Read more about the issue at 6abc.


Tom Niarhos, Executive Director of Pottstown’s Beacon of Hope, thanks donors for their 2022 contributions to his work.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.