Shortage of Shelters in Scranton

SCRANTON -- "Sorry, We're Closed" is what the sign outside the Bethel AME Homeless Shelter says on its doors.

This night-time homeless shelter has been closed since April and, despite the cold, there are no plans to reopen it.

"Well, I just want people to know that it's not a financial burden. It's just a manpower, a reliable manpower that we need,” says Darian Banks, the pastor at Bethel AME.

Banks told Newswatch 16 the church is having difficulty finding volunteers to supervise the shelter at night. And it upsets him, but it was a congregation decision to not open again this season.

So, what does that mean for people who need a place to stay warm?

"People are going to hospitals, asking hotels if we can stay in their lobby 'til morning, 'til CIC opens up,” says William Dearie.

CIC is Scranton's Community Intervention Center. It is a daytime shelter in Lackawanna County.

Agencies like the Community Intervention Center are doing the best it can to help the homeless. However, it is only a day shelter, they can't provide support at night.

The CIC is asking for donations of sleeping bags, blankets, and outerwear accessories to help the homeless handle the cold.

1 Comment

  • Anonymous

    A travesty and tragedy waiting to happen. Many of them are mentally ill some even have jobs but are not paid enough to afford apartments. You wouldn’t leave your pet out in the cold but people don’t care about leaving people outside to freeze to death.

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