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Task force focuses on homelessness in Carbon

Published April 08. 2019 12:17PM

Carbon County’s homelessness task force is preparing to see just how big the problem is in the county.

Last week, the commissioners, as well as Christine LeClair, Robert Jacobs and the Rev. Allen Hoffa, spoke about the new group’s upcoming meeting as the new task force.

The need for a task force arose after a homeless woman named Yvonne was found living in the Carbon Plaza Mall because no resources were available for single women struggling with homelessness.

LeClair made it her mission to find help for the woman and announced that Yvonne now has a roof over her head and a home to call her own thanks to the support of the community.

“It’s a very exciting time, the opportunity we have here to address homelessness in Carbon County,” said Hoffa, who is the pastor of St. Joseph Parish of the Panther Valley in Summit Hill.

He said that the initiative has been well-received by both people in the private and public sectors.

“We had a number of organizations and businesses say, ‘when the time comes, we want to be part of it,” Hoffa said.

Jacobs, who brought the idea to the commissioners last month, added that the primary purpose of this task force is to build on the examples of the good programs that already are established in the county — Family Promise, which helps families, and Peaceful Knights, which is structured for men.

Hoffa said the first piece of the puzzle the group needs to figure out with the first meeting, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 15 in the commissioners conference room in the Carbon County Administration Building in Jim Thorpe, is the data of just how many people are homeless in Carbon County and what resources are currently available to build from.

Commissioner William O’Gurek thanked the group for taking the first step to making this a reality.

“We’re looking forward to getting together and seeing what we can do to move forward to resolve some of the problems and make lives better,” O’Gurek said,

Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein added that this is a big step.

“It’s a big project,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but with the right people in place heading this up, it’s going to happen.”

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