Women’s Shelter Merges as Wait Continues for Funding

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WILKES-BARRE – Officials at the only emergency women’s shelter in Luzerne County said they are in the process of merging with a new operator, as they continue waiting for about $60,000 in allocated funding tied up in the state budget.

Ruth’s Place Shelter Director Kristen Topolski told Newswatch 16 that the merger with Volunteers of America will be complete by the end of this month.

"As a smaller organization, that is devastating. A larger organization such as Volunteers of American can help us bridge that gap,” said Topolski. "Used clothing, we are always taking, so that the women can have items to wear. Nothing is worse than to have a homeless woman go to bed without night clothes."

Topolski said the shelter is on target to help about 300 women in Luzerne County this year, with a 30 day program that offers women in crisis situations a bed, kitchen and laundry access, as well as computer courses inside a secure building.

Volunteers of America officials said it will be the first shelter that the national group will operate in Pennsylvania.

Gloria Edwards said she volunteers her time cleaning, while women staying at the shelter are working or visiting with their children, after she was helped out by Ruth’s Place last year.

"I used to be homeless at one time. They were good to me, so I feel I have to give back. Volunteering is the way I do it,” said Edwards. "I always wanted to help people. Little did I know I was going to have to help myself.”

Click here for more information or to make donations to Ruth’s Place.