There is a rise of homelessness in Erie, Pa.
With the winter months coming up, it’s going to become even more dangerous for people living out on the streets.
To make matters worse, homeless shelters in the city have started turning people away.
To counter this, Mercyhurst University Campus Ministry is starting a movement of emergency homeless shelters for those who cannot get into a regular one.
The issue of homelessness was first brought up at a public meeting on Monday, Oct. 19. After the meeting, churches and other facilities decided to host themselves as emergency shelters.
The emergency homeless shelter movement began Saturday, Dec. 1, and will continue until the beginning of April.
Campus Ministry plans to have select groups of students and employees to stay overnight at the emergency shelters.
The overnight groups will be split into two shifts.
The first shift will stay at the shelters from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the second shift will stay at the shelters from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Students can earn service learning credit if they participate in one of these two shifts.
“This is only a short term emergency solution. We’re not trying to build a brand new shelter,” said Director of Campus Ministry Greg Baker. “We just want to get these people off the streets so that they don’t die from the cold winter weather up ahead.”
Campus Ministry is also planning on looking at affordable housing. They plan to do this in order to reduce the amount of homeless people in the city of Erie.
For more information regarding the emergency homeless shelters or to get involved, contact Greg Baker at (814) 824-2301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.