As an expression of Christ’s love FOCUS North America serves the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned by providing Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding, and Shelter.
FOCUS North America is a national movement of Orthodox Christians, united in faith and joined by a desire to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities across America. FOCUS has operations and youth volunteer experiences in more than 50 cities in the United States.
Through the provision of social and human development services, FOCUS North America helps the poor and needy in North America. We bring communities, parishes, and partners together in hands-on activities – uniting giver and the underserved — to help transform all of our lives and break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many in our society.
All of FOCUS North America’s services are provided without discrimination of any kind. We do not require any faith commitment from anyone we help. We exist solely to transform the lives of the homeless and poor in America, moving them from dependency to self-sufficiency, by providing food, occupation, clothing, understanding and shelter.
“There simply aren’t enough places for sober living in our community,” said Nathan Smith, the co-founder and director of FOCUS Columbus’ Jonah House. Columbus, Ohio is an epicenter of heroin abuse and addiction in the Midwest. This heroin epidemic has become increasingly visible as community after community has seen sharp increases in deaths caused by this dangerous drug.
Many people are battling every day to free themselves from their addictions, which result in situations such as homelessness, poor health, and financial instability. Nathan recognized that Columbus has one of the best shelter systems in the country. However, shelters can be horrible places for anyone recovering from addiction. FOCUS Columbus’ Jonah House will fill the gap that currently exists in the homeless service system for addicts.
Opportunity Meets Desire
The Jonah House, which is slated to open in 2017, will provide a critical transitional step for former heroin addicts to move from dependency to self-sufficiency. The house will be a safe, caring living space and will also arrange meaningful, daily work for residents. In-house professional partners will help residents with their mental and physical health, and provide guidance for everyday tasks.
Nicholas Chakos, Executive Director of FOCUS North America said, “The Jonah House will be bringing a credible solution to a dire need in Columbus. While FOCUS provides infrastructure and organization to centers around the country, the local folks in Columbus have done all of the groundwork and are stepping up to meaningfully impact their community.”
The goal is for Jonah House residents to be able to focus entirely on themselves and their recovery for six months or a year. “There will be professional, volunteer, and spiritual help,” said Peter Gardikes, who is a Jonah House ministry team member and Parish Council Member at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Columbus. “Ultimately, we’d like to see people who have gone through Jonah House mentor those who come after them. We’re creating a community of people supporting one another.” Jonah House is successfully leveraging churches in central Ohio to create a network of support and opportunity to those who successfully complete the transition once leaving the Jonah House.
Nathan Smith, Coordinator
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WITH YOUR HELP FOCUS provides food, occupation, clothing, shelter… and understanding.