A press release distributed this week by the Allentown Rescue Mission (ARM), which provides support and shelter to homeless men in the Lehigh Valley, contained a stern warning: the current economic environment coupled with a housing market high-priced provides all the ingredients for a “perfect storm”.
The referenced ARM storm will not bring heavy rains and flooding like the remnants of Hurricane Ida did, but could instead lead to an increase in homelessness in the region.
ARM issued the statement in response to the end of the federal moratorium on evictions on August 26, which it said could contribute to an increase in homelessness as many tenants continue to face financial hardship caused by the COVID pandemic.
“Early indicators show that these people still owe rent, past due rent, applicable fees, penalties and interest now that the order is complete,” officials of the rescue mission said.
Housing insecurity plagues individuals throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Hellertown, where several Saucon Source readers recently asked about a homeless man who took refuge under the I-78 overpass on the highway. 412, at the northern end of the district.
“Tom,” who can occasionally be seen in a plush red chair under the viaduct, told Saucon Source he preferred his viaduct habitat to group shelters or so-called “tent cities,” where he said restrictions and interactions with other residents can sometimes lead to conflict.
Tom said local police were watching him and he was clearly known to many in the area, as he waved in response to beeps from passing motorists in a conversation.
Fortunately, whether they choose to take advantage of it or not, there are resources available for Tom and others facing housing insecurity in the Hellertown area.
ARM is one of the best known since it has been caring for homeless men for over 120 years. The mission provides safe accommodation, clothing and three meals a day for men in its emergency shelters and long-term programs, as well as counseling, educational resources, life skills classes, transportation to medical appointments and social services, housing and employment assistance, and counseling during the often stressful transition to becoming a productive member of the community.
“Now that the ban on deportation is lifted, the Allentown Rescue Mission will do everything possible to help,” said CEO Stuart Smith. “Whether it’s a few nights in our emergency shelter or longer help, we’ll do everything we can to get them back on their feet.
Visit the Mission website to learn more about the help they provide to local homeless men.
Statistically, homelessness affects more men than women, with around 70 percent of all homeless people being male. However, there are local organizations that also provide assistance to homeless families, women and children.
Sixth Street Shelter, a program of the Lehigh Valley Community Action Committee, provides temporary housing for homeless Lehigh Valley families with children.
The shelter offers 25 individual family apartments, and it is the only refuge in the Lehigh Valley to offer homeless families a furnished apartment with a full kitchen.
“At Sixth Street Shelter, we respond to crises in the lives of over 100 homeless families per year, showing genuine love to over 200 children who need all the love they can get,” says the shelter’s website. “Our love extends to their parents as well, as we do all we can to guide them to a more stable life in which good decisions are made, their ability to pay their bills is proven and they can continue to live like people like. take us for granted. “
Sixth Street Shelter encourages people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to call 211 to be put in contact with the United Way community helpline. Out-of-state people should call (855) 501-6785.
The organization also has two drop-in locations open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Thursday:
Trails (located in the County Lehigh “Conference of Churches” building)
- 457 W. Allen Street, Allentown, PA 18102, (610) 439-8653
The alliance of the 3rd street
- 41 N. 3rd Street, Easton, PA 18042, (610) 258-6271
Valley Youth House is a local organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people, many of whom struggle with housing insecurity or homelessness.
Their Lehigh Valley emergency shelter, located at 539 Eighth Avenue in Bethlehem, is equipped to help homeless youth through case management, individual, family and group counseling, life skills education, experiential education based on adventure and recreational activities; and therapeutic follow-up and after-care services.
The Lehigh Valley Emergency Shelter provides assistance to homeless and housing-insecure youth aged 12 to 17. For more information, call (610) 691-1200.
Another important resource offered by Valley Youth House is its street awareness program called the Synergy project.
“Through this program, we are providing survival supplies, peer support, informal counseling, information, referral services and assistance getting off the streets (if desired),” said Mary. Harvilla, responsible for the organization’s marketing and communications.
Additional information and resources can be accessed from organization website.