The homeless population in Monroe County is growing.
Right now, a state survey shows more than 130 people have no place to stay, but this may change soon.
Area churches, the homeless, non-profit organizations and neighbors all came together to find a way to help the homeless get care, shelter and help build a future.
John Studeny and his dog Lexi call Monroe County home.
Studeny doesn’t have an address because he, along with more than 130 people in Monroe County, are homeless.
“I’m the man with the dog, but if they want to take her home, I gotta go with them. So it’s not such a good deal when you look at it that way,” said Studeny.
Even though Studeny lost his home last December, he still has his humor. Because as he says, you gotta laugh no matter how bad it is.
But what isn’t funny is the growing need for care and shelters for the homeless in Monroe County.
Faith Waters-Kimes, who works at Family Promise, a homeless assistance program, saw the need while working at a soup kitchen.
She decided to bring together churches, non-profit organizations and the homeless to find a solution at the first Homeless Summit at East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church.
“Yes, there is a problem. Now what are we going to do about it. We tried to be very specific in outlining action steps,” said Waters-Kimes.
Those steps include forming group to address certain needs, such as organizing more community meals, providing more counseling for the homeless and finding more emergency shelters.
Studeny lives under the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Stroudsburg. He shares his space with other homeless people in the area.
Studeny isn’t the only face of homelessness and not the only one who feels one answer is more shelters.
Raymond Perkowski was a Nanticoke firefighter but then got injured.
He is now homeless in Marshalls Creek.
“I don’t want to see anybody die. It gets cold out there. It only takes a matter of a couple of hours under the bridge or in somebody’s car for something terrible to happen,” said Perkowski.
“All these people coming together, we have enough minds here that know enough people that can get something done right away, so it doesn’t drag out and take years,” said Studeny.
The groups that met Friday at the East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church will spend the next two months working on their action plans to help the homeless.
Then in May, those groups will meet again to discuss what more they can do to help the homeless.