Elderly, Homeless Most Vulnerable in Cold

Some of the most vulnerable to the freezing cold are the homeless and elderly.

For the most part, people avoided going outside in Honesdale while the temps hovered barely above 0 degrees.

Still, for people facing the cold without shelter, Cindy Matthews is spearheading a county-wide effort to assess the homeless situation and get those folks help.

“Hope to get the word out, awareness amongst the community, so if they see someone in need, they know who to call,” said Matthews. At the end of the month, a group of volunteers will go out and look for the homeless in order to provide a count for possible federal assistance.

As Matthews points out, there’s no homeless shelter in Wayne County and that’s where Grace Episcopal Church comes to the rescue.

“The building’s always warm, and it’s really easy to open up the door and get a couple of volunteers to come and heat up a pot of soup,” said Reverend Edward Erb.

Reverend Erb and volunteers hold a 12-hour Warmth in the Night whenever it gets really cold. It is a place for folks to keep warm, fed and in from the dangerous cold overnight.

“That’s what Christ tells us to do, feed the hungry, heal the sick,” said Reverend Erb.

In one instance, a man had been sleeping in his car for 3 nights in a row when he needed medical treatment, said Reverend Erb. Social workers contacted the church, and the man found shelter during Warmth in the Night.

In neighboring Pike County, folks came out to a senior center near Hawley to socialize but also to stay warm.

They can’t stay all day, but said this place serves up a good meal without having to run up the heating bills at home.

“It’s too cold, electric goes up, gas goes up, everything goes up,” said Marge Andersen of Greeley.

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