Homelessness concerns rise in the Electric City

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Homelessness is a growing issue in the City of Scranton. In fact, there’s been an increase in the number of homeless in recent years.

Thursday, elected officials got a tour of the electric city’s only overnight homeless shelter.

In the last two years, Saint Anthony’s Haven, managed by Catholic Social Services, has seen a 13 percent increase in the number of individuals seeking shelter.

On Thursday, Senator Marty Flynn and State Representative Kyle Donahue toured the Saint James Manor property,

The homeless population in Scranton is a growing concern. Saint Anthony’s Haven is the only year-round shelter in the city with just 26 beds, 20 beds for men and six beds for women.

“We are confined by the amount of space. I know there are ideas in the works but we don’t have a concrete next step unfortunately we are stuck at 26,” said Harry Lysons, Shelter Supervisor at Catholic Social Services.

Senator Marty Flynn and State Representative Kyle Donahue visited the facility on Thursday, hearing directly from someone who has experienced homelessness and sought out Saint Anthonys for help.

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“I came to the shelter, I needed to have surgery or I couldn’t go back to work and these guys really helped me, they sent me up at Saint James, I got the surgery, I went to work, they not only housed me but now they employee me so I mean it’s a great program,” said Tom Cummings.

Those who run the shelter say Tom’s story can shed light on just how important the shelter is to the community.

“I wanted them to see the place and to get an understanding that the people we are helping are good people who are just trying to get out of a bad situation,” stated Lysons.

And to spark conversations on what Saint Anthony’s and Catholic Social Services can do to enhance their programs

“It’s just a great mission statement that the place says. There’s an uptick in what’s going on here but we definitely want to help them meet the demand,” Senator Marty Flynn, (d) 22nd district

“It’s trying to identify some grant programs that possibly be of assistance, and just you know advocating for those grant dollars down in Harrisburg,” said Representative Kyle Donahue, (d) 113th district

They also say changing attitudes towards those who are homeless and support from the community is a must.

“There are physical material things that we could use, but most of all we need people to have the attitude that these are their neighbors and they just need a helping hand,” added Ly

Again, Saint Anthony’s Haven is the only overnight homeless shelter with just 26 beds, 20 beds for men and 6 beds for women. Help and support are needed for them to continue fighting the homeless battle and getting individuals back on their feet.

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