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Grant funds to help provide emergency shelter

When it’s freezing outside most of us just grumble, turn up the heat and put on a heavy sweater.

But those who don’t have a home can’t turn up the heat or put on heavy a sweater, or for that matter even a coat.

Addressing the urgent need for shelters in Monroe County during the winter months, the commissioners approved the Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Code Blue contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the period July 1, 2020, through April 1, 2021.

The funds will be used for emergency shelter at the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church and Family Promise of Monroe County.

“In the winter months it is very difficult for those people who have no home to find shelter. That money will be well used,” Commissioner John Christy said.

Family Promise

“Again, we’ve seen the need for shelter double since the onset of the pandemic,” said Enid Logan, the director of Family Promise in Monroe County.

Family Promise so far this winter has provided emergency shelter to 61 individuals and families, up from the 22 individuals or families this time last year.

Before the pandemic, many of the area churches would host the families overnight. Because of the chance of spreading COVID-19, area churches are not hosting groups. The families are now put up in motels, which is costly. Volunteers need to be recruited to cook meals for them.

“Our church volunteers continue to cook for our families and we are so grateful for the meals they provide,” she said, and added, “I honestly don’t know what we would do without them.”

Logan also said that if any community member would like to help in this endeavor, Family Promise can connect them to the churches that cook for them.

Food unfortunately is not the only thing needed for the families that lost their income and their home because they either could not pay the rent or the home went into foreclosure.

When families are taken into the Family Promise system, they might have a few personal items, but mostly just their clothes.

“Monetary donations are greatly appreciated and assist with not only with the general shelter operations, but children and their families enter shelter and need such items such as diapers, wipes and baby wash,” Logan said.

Another program they have includes collecting old furniture and household goods from the community, including dishes, pots and pans, silverware and clean sheets and blankets.

“We give them to families moving from shelter and into their own apartment. We are especially in need of sheets and blankets, kitchen items including dishes and sets of silverware,” Logan said.

If you have items you would like to donate, due to COVID-19 we ask they be dropped off to us. To make arrangements to drop off items, call 570-420-8589.

Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church Shelter

Linda Keefer, a co-lead pastor at Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church, is passionate about helping the homeless find shelter, especially in the cold weather.

“We opened the shelter nine years ago and it’s a little different from shelters that receive government help,” she said.

The shelter doesn’t accept any government help, and the homeless coming to the shelter don’t have as many hoops to jump through, she said. The site is strictly a cold-weather shelter that operates from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting on Nov. 1 to March 31.

The church recently moved the shelter into one of the church’s newer buildings, and now the shelter has a shower, a washer and dryer, and a new kitchen.

“We don’t cook for them, but they can use the kitchen to make themselves a meal, as well as wash their dirty clothes and get a shower, which was something they were not able to do before. Plus now they have beds,” Keefer said.

However, if they are struggling with addiction or have an obvious medical problem we try to connect them to the 211 services.

If they notice someone in the shelter doesn’t have a warm jacket and clothes that will keep them warm, they often check the church’s clothing center and help the person find some warm clothes that fit.

The mission of the shelter is to reach out to the homeless and make sure as many people as possible find a warm bed in a warm house.

Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church has a shelter set up to help those in need. AMY LEAP/TIMES NEWS
Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church has a shelter set up to help those in need. AMY LEAP/TIMES NEWS