Sheltering Options in Wilkes-Barre by qingyunliuliu


									Sheltering Options in Wilkes-Barre

                               Submitted to the
                     Luzerne-Wyoming Counties
      Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program

                       Prepared by Jenna Walsh
                                 King’s College

                                  20 May 2008
           The white paper’s purpose is to provide an overview of local sheltering options
           that are available for the homeless in Luzerne County. This document will
           demonstrate that the mentally-ill homeless have specific needs that the current
           sheltering service options are not designed to meet. This paper will
           acknowledge the fact these shelters cannot accommodate the total homeless
           population in the area.

           Also by providing a brief description of how existing shelters started and the
           day-to-day operations including staff, volunteer work and qualifications of
           acceptance, the document information should be considered when opening a
           new supportive housing facility.

Overview of Accommodations
         Female Accommodations

           Catherine McAuley House
            Caters to: 7 women, 7 children

              Time of Operations: 24 hours 7 days a week

              Type of Facility: Transitional housing (30 days)

           Ruth’s Place
            Caters to: women of all ages

              Time of Operations: 7 p.m. - 7 a.m.

              Type of Facility: Night shelter

         Male Accommodations

           VISION (Volunteers In Service In Our Neighborhood)
             Caters to: men of all ages

              Time of Operations: 7 p.m. – 7 a.m.

              Type of Facility: Night shelter

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         Male and Female Accommodations

           Manna House
            Caters to: 8 adult women and men, ages 18-25

              Time of Operations: 24 hours 7 days a week

              Type of Facility: Transitional housing (18-24 months)

           Reach, Inc
            Caters to: men and women of all ages

              Time of Operations: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

              Type of Facility: Drop- in center

           St. Vincent De Paul’s Soup Kitchen
             Caters to: men and women of all ages

              Time of Operations:    Monday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

                                     Tuesday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

              Type of Facility: Daily soup kitchen

Catherine McAuley House
           121 Church Street
           Plymouth, PA 18651

           To provide a temporary residence to women and their children who are in
           crisis, which leaves them homeless.

           Founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Catherine McAuley dedicated her life to
           helping those less fortunate in Dublin, Ireland during the early 1800s. Bringing
           together her vision and great commitment to heal, Anne Payne, RSM created
           the Catherine McAuley Center in Scranton. Operating successfully since
           housing their first guest in September 1984, the McAuley House located in
           Plymouth offers a second chance at a new start for homeless women who are
           in crisis free of charge.

Sheltering Options in Wilkes-Barre                                                       2
         Facility Description
           There are 11 rooms in this facility, which can house 7 women and 7 children at
           one time. This site does not cater to men. The homeless are welcome to stay
           for 30 days and then encouraged to move on. “If at the end of the 30 day limit,
           somebody could stay longer if they are well behaved,” said Sister Mary,
           director of the House.

         Time of Operations
           The Catherine McAuley House operates 24 hours, 7 days a week

         Qualifications of Acceptance
           In order to be eligible for transitional housing, women must be homeless
           without considerable resources. If they have children, they must be physically
           and emotionally able to care for them as well as drug and alcohol free. The
           women must be able to live in a shared environment and assist in everyday
           household duties. The McAuley House is not a refuge for domestic violence.

           Sister Mary is the only full-time staff at the McAuley House. She is in daily
           contact with the homeless and guides them in the right direction toward
           permanent housing. There are also three part-time workers, who work mostly
           during the nights and weekends.

           Since the House is primarily for women, most volunteer opportunities are
           limited to women. Potential responsibilities include acting as a greeter to the
           house, transporting women for shopping and personal needs, preparing meals
           once or twice a month, baby-sitting, helping with maintenance, and providing
           overnight coverage at the shelter. “We have a huge pool of volunteers and we
           couldn’t operate without them,” said Sister Mary.

           The Catherine McAuley House relies mostly on private donations and
           government funds from FEMA. In order to operate, the House needs $11,000
           each year.

           “We rely on all kinds of donations, from the essentials like toothpaste, to food,
           pillows, bedding, furniture and gift certificates. We also rely on in kind
           donations to purchase food for the facility,” said Sister Mary.

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         Day-to-Day Operations
           The women and children living in the transitional housing lead a very
           structured life. “I think this helps the women. Before they were leading chaotic
           lives and they lacked structure,” added Sister Mary. Each person is responsible
           for daily duties. Once a week, each person is required to cook a meal. There is
           strict bedtime and if those individuals do not cooperate, they are asked to
           leave. There are interviews during the day to point people in the right direction
           for permanent housing. Mary Belanchick, a nutrition educational advisor from
           Penn State visits the site whenever a new group comes into the House.

         Other Services
           Connecting people with people who can help is important to the McAuley
           House. Other services the House provides besides sheltering includes case
           management, transportation, linkages to community resources, assistance in
           finding permanent housing, household items such as furniture, food, medical
           assessment and health service referrals.

           Sister Marie Larkin; 570.779.2801

Manna House
           25 North River St.
           Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

           Our mission is to reach out and uplift the human condition and provide
           opportunity for individual and community involvement.

           Founded in August of 2007, the Manna House is a brand new program to our
           County. Developed by the Volunteers of America, the Manna House offers
           traditional housing and supportive services.

         Facility Description
           Housing up to 8 chronically homeless adult women and men, ages 18-25, the
           Manna House also houses the administrative offices for Northeastern
           Pennsylvania. Four of the units house the homeless who are mentally ill. “The
           goal is to help them find independent living housing by 18-24 months,” said
           Summer Krochta, program supervisor.

Sheltering Options in Wilkes-Barre                                                        4
         Time of Operations
           The Manna House operates 24 hours, 7 days a week.

         Qualifications of Acceptance
           In order to qualify for housing, individuals must meet the HUD definition for
           homelessness. “They are qualified for housing if they have lived a year solid
           without an address,” said Summer Krochta. They also are required to undergo
           both child abuse clearances and criminal background checks. Those who are
           interested in housing at the Manna House can be referred to the program from
           human services agencies, homeless shelters, street outreach programs and self

           The Manna House provides trained staff 24 hours/7 days a week to secure the
           facility and provide services to the homeless, most importantly to find
           permanent housing along with a productive skill. Each member of the House is
           provided with a case manager, who assists in their efforts to help the homeless
           go back into society successfully and tracks their service plan. A life skills
           coach is also provided who concentrates on the strengths of these individuals
           and helps to work on their weaknesses.

           Relying mostly on staff, the Manna House does not utilize many volunteers.
           The House does rely on the local food bank, St. Vincent De Paul’s Soup Kitchen
           however, which is made up mostly by volunteers.

           The site is HUD funded, but also relies on grants to fully furnish the
           apartments and buy everyday amenities.

           In order to operate successfully, the Manna House relies a lot on donations,
           whether that entails money donations or service items such as vehicles and
           supplies. All donations will help ensure the programs provided by the House
           and serve our community.

         Day-to-Day Operations:
           Creating a personal atmosphere is important to the Manna House, so it is
           important that each member of the House meets with their case manager daily.
           The life skills coach is also important to interact with on a daily basis. Skill
           areas may include the following: household management, menu planningmeal

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           preparation, housekeeping, health, hygiene, disease prevention, money
           management/banking, educational opportunities first aid/CPR, fire
           prevention and personal safety.

         Other Services
           Located near many employment opportunities, religious facilities, colleges and
           recreational opportunities the Manna House centers their attention on
           individuals and their needs.

           Bill Jones; 570.825.5261

           St. Stephen’s Church
           35 South Franklin St.
           Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

           REACH, Inc. is a ministry of last resort, providing hope to individuals and
           families in need.

           After realizing the importance of the St. Stephen’s Church location and the
           need to help those living on the streets, Stan Hamilton developed Sheppard’s
           of the Streets, which provided a day program for those who were homeless in
           1984. When Stan parted ways with his program in 2000, Stefanie Wolownik
           took over and created REACH, Inc – a drop- in center for the homeless.

         Facility Description
           This drop in center provides the homeless with an inviting place to go during
           the day. The people come and go as they please and spend time together,
           socializing and using the facilities provided (shower, phone, food, clothes).
           Men, women and children are welcomed. “Last month (March) 34 homeless
           people visited REACH on a monthly average and I would say they were
           mostly the same people. We are almost a family here,” said Marie Cooley,
           Family Advocate/Case Manager.

         Time of Operations
           REACH operates Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The
           clothes closet is open Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings. REACH is
           not a housing shelter.

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         Qualifications of Acceptance
           There are no qualifications of acceptance into REACH. “We don’t turn anyone
           down,” said Marie. “There is no alcohol and drugs though. If someone gets
           caught, they are asked to not come back for a week. If they come intoxicated,
           they are asked to leave for the day.” Everyone is always welcomed back.

           There are three full-time staff at the facility including Marie Cooley, Stefanie
           Wolownick and Rita, who answers the phone. There are senior aids from the
           Borough of the Aging, who visit the site to provide ways to hold onto medical

           The facility relies a lot on volunteer work, whether that is in the food pantry or
           the clothes closet. Many organizations such as Wilkes University and UFCW
           Credit Union offer their time conducting food drives.

           There is a grant provided by Children and Youth of Luzerne County which
           help operate the facility. There are also two annual appeals, one for the church
           congregation during the Lent season and one for the general community in the
           fall. “In order to operate, we need $8,500 just to squeak by,” said Stefanie

           REACH relies a lot on community donations including quilts, food and clothes.
           Last month (March) the site fed 241 households through food donations from
           the community (405) and CEO (1981 lbs).

         Day-to-Day Operations
           By offering coffee in the morning and a time to socialize with each other,
           REACH focuses on the needs of the homeless. The most important aspect of
           REACH is the way they make referrals, whether that is to Head Start to help
           them find a job, or help them find permanent housing, or food stamps. There
           is also case management counseling on site, which focuses on skill building
           (parenting, decision making, and communication). REACH also refers
           individuals to rehab if they choose.

         Other Services
           REACH offers intervention, appointments with other agencies, support and
           continuing care with linkage to community activities.

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           Stephanie Wolownick; 829-5611

Ruth’s Place Shelter
           47 North Franklin Street
           Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

           We’re accepting; we’re caring; we try to show God’s love to these women.

           Established in the winter of 2003 by Pastor Keith Benjamin, Ruth’s Place began
           to give shelter to those in need during the cold months. Today, the shelter is
           open year round due to the need to help the homeless in the community.

         Facility Description
           The two-floor building houses women of all ages. The facility does not cater to
           men. “Last month, we saw 10-21 women on average come stay for the night,”
           said Julie Benjamin, Director and Keith Benjamin’s wife. “We have had women
           come here from ages 18 to 87.”

         Time of Operations
           Ruth’s Place operates from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every week, all year round.

         Qualifications of Acceptance
           There are no qualifications of acceptance for the women who stay at Ruth’s
           Place. Every woman is welcomed and the site has yet to turn anyone down.
           “We have never been up to capacity,” added Julie. “We always have cots or
           sofas that the women can sleep on. We usually serve the same women

           Keith and Julie Benjamin are the only full-time staff on site.

           Ruth’s Place relies heavily on volunteer work since there are only 2 full-time
           staff. There are beds specifically for the volunteers, who are on call throughout
           the night.

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           Ruth’s Place relies on community money donations as funding for the site from
           small amounts to large. The facility also relies heavily on donations such as
           paper products, dish detergent, garbage bags, food, gift cards, backpacks,
           socks, underwear, feminine hygiene products and walking shoes.

         Day-to-Day Operations
           The facility has great support from the Victims Resource Center, CEO and
           Community Counseling. Individuals have a chance to meet with these services
           on a daily basis, or at least get referrals. “It’s a bridge were you can build your
           self-esteem back up. And it’s a place you can put your head,” said Erica
           Winterling, a Ruth’s Place Resident. The women are encouraged to return until
           finding permanent or transitional housing.

         Other Services
           Guiding people in the right direction is important to Ruth’s Place. According
           to Julie Benjamin, “If we put them out, we might not be able to solve their
           problem. But we’re hoping that somewhere in the time they’re here something
           will click to make them be able to find what they need to be successful outside
           the shelter.”

           Reverend Keith Benjamin, Julie Benjamin, 570.822.6817

St. Vincent De Paul’s Soup Kitchen
           39 East Jackson Street
           Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

           St. Vincent De Paul’s Soup Kitchen has dedicated its efforts in providing the
           homeless of Luzerne County with a well-balanced meal every day of the year.

         Facility Description
           A one-floor facility focuses on feeding the hungry during the afternoon and
           evenings. According to director and founder of the Kitchen Anne Marie
           McCawley, on average about 12 homeless people visit the facility daily, yet
           they are not the same people day after day. The Kitchen is not a shelter, but
           tries to provide the homeless with a place to go and eat during the day.

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         Time of Operations
           The Kitchen serves a midday meal 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. An
           afternoon meal is also served from 5-6 p.m., but only on Tuesday, Wednesday,
           and Thursday. The food bank operates Monday, 5-6 p.m.; Tuesday and
           Thursday, 9-11 a.m. The clothing room is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9-
           11 a.m.

         Qualifications of Acceptance
           There are no qualifications of acceptance; everyone who enters the door is
           welcomed and able to eat without restrictions. Men, women and children are
           invited for a meal daily.

           The site provides 5 full-time staff in order to operate successfully.

           During a month, approximately 100 people volunteer their time to keep the
           kitchen active. In many cases, those who come for a meal are also there to
           volunteer their time. Local colleges such as King’s and Wilkes volunteer their
           time preparing and serving the meals, organizing clothes and sorting through
           the food in the food bank.

           The Kitchen is supported financially by donations from individuals, civic
           groups, church groups, the business community and anonymous donors.

           The facility relies a lot on donations, especially from the community such as
           food for the bank, clothes and used furniture. The meals are bought through
           the funds as well as local contributions by restraints, bakeries and

         Day-to-Day Operations
           Operating during afternoon and evening, the Kitchen serves a meal to those in
           need. It does not provide case management or counseling services. Many
           overnight shelters refer individuals to the Kitchen as a place to go during the
           day to receive food.

         Other Services
           Other service the Kitchen provides includes a food bank, clothing room and
           furniture. The food bank provides the homeless with extra food in need be in

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           case of an emergency. In order to be eligible however, clients must provide an
           application form stating a permanent address, income and Social Security
           Number. If they are accepted, they receive 6 meals, enough to feed a family as
           well as staples.

           Anne Marie McCawley; 570.829.7796

Volunteers In Service In Our Neighborhood (VISION)
           77 Academy Street
           Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

           To fulfill the needs for homeless in the Valley.

           VISION has operated for over 20 years, using available space from churches in
           Luzerne Country and providing a place to sleep for men.

         Facility Description
           The VISION facility changes on a weekly basis. The space is based on the
           availability and accessibility of local churches. There are about 2 dozen
           churches operating as a VISION shelter today.

         Time of Operations
           VISION operates from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

         Qualifications of Acceptance
           If someone has a history of committing a felony or theft they are not allowed to
           stay in the VISION shelter.

           There is only a few paid full-time staff at VISION. They are in charge of
           locating the facilities, picking up the men at the meeting place in downtown
           Wilkes-Barre and providing basic needs.

           Since VISION is not heavily staffed, the facility relies much on volunteer work,
           especially during the nights. Usually the parishioners of the churches
           volunteer their time.

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           VISION gets their funding from the Country through the Office of Community
           Development. The shelter also relies on community donations.

           CEO is involved in donating and providing food on a daily basis for VISION
           shelters. Church communities also donate food as well as old furniture to sleep
           on. The donations are needed to pay the staff, to pay for gas to run the vans
           back and forth, to pay rent for the main office and to pay for supplies such as
           heat, electric and water.

         Day-to-Day Operations
           Before 7 p.m. the men meet in South Wilkes-Barre to be shuttled over to the
           volunteer church of that week. There they are able to get a meal and sleep the
           night. The churches do not have a showering facility, but the men are
           encouraged to sign up at the local YMCA. In the morning, the men are brought
           back to the city and usually travel to a day program like REACH. The goal of
           VISION is to make sure people are safe and clothed. It is a place designed to
           guide them to get their own place and provide a service that gives them

           Vince Kabacinski; 570.825.7235

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