A warming station for the homeless will be open every night from 7pm to 7am at Alliance Hall at 6th and Chew streets in Allentown beginning November 1.
The announcement was made at a news conference at Alliance Hall this morning by Dale W. Smith,Chair, Seasonal Sheltering committee, Allentown Commission to End Chronic Homelessness, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller and Lehigh Conference of Churches Executive Director Jack Felch. The announcement was attended by some 50 representatives of social service agencies, churches and neighborhood groups.
“Last winter, the very harsh weather showed us that the community needed a bigger and better-equipped facility to ensure that our homeless population would not only have a place to sleep out of the inclement weather but also to ensure that they had the services they needed to help them get off the streets into permanent housing,” Smith said.
The 6CWS will be
• a single location, open every night, 7pm to 7am, from November 1st through April 30th, regardless of temperature
• open to all: men, women, families
• cots and blankets (not sleeping on the floor)
• consistent intake process, to know people by name and by need
• scheduled case managers, to help develop housing action steps for each person
• access to the LVHN Street Medicine program
• trained supervisory staff
Pawlowski said, “Our goal remains not just to provide a place for the homeless to go during the dead of winter, but to get them on the road to finding permanent shelter. As a society, the cost of getting the chronically homeless into housing is far less than the cost of their impact on the health and local law enforcement systems.”
The city is contributing $25,000 of CDBG funds to the winter sheltering program. In addition to the winter sheltering program, the city is also providing Emergency Solutions Grant Program funding in the amounts of almost $34,000 to the Sixth Street Shelter, the Allentown Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army; $18,000 to the Lehigh Conference of Churches for the Linkage Outreach Program and $44,000 to the Lehigh Conference of Churches for the Pathways Rapid Re-housing Program.
Muller said the warming station serves a critical need, adding that the November 1 opening gives organizers a head start on preparing for the harsh winter.
According to Smith, “The 6th & Chew Winter Shelter is the culmination of many collaborative discussions among several community organizations — the city, the county, the Allentown Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army Hospitality House, the Lehigh Conference of Churches, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley and faith-based organizations. The shelter will be administered by the Lehigh Conference of Churches.
Donations are needed to allow for adequate supervision, janitorial services, meal service, showers and other amenities at the station.
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/allentown-winter-shelter or through the Lehigh Conference of Churches.