WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For days, dozens of homeless men in Luzerne County have been without a place to stay after an emergency closure at a Wilkes-Barre shelter.
Mother Teresa’s Haven in Wilkes-Barre has been temporarily closed since Monday due to plumbing issues.
More than 15 homeless men who were living in the shelter were told they had to evacuate on Monday and have been living outside ever since.
An emergency sewage problem at St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Wilkes-Barre forced more than a dozen people out on the streets this week, looking for a warm place to stay.
The men say they didn’t even have a chance to grab what few belongings they have before leaving.
“I wasn’t prepared, that’s why it was an inconvenience for me. It’s harsh, it’s been cold. People have become ill because of the situation,” said Kevin Curry, a resident of St. Mary’s shelter.
But late Thursday, some good news. The inconvenience won’t last long. The st. Mary’s shelter should reopen Friday.
“It gives me relief in knowing that I could get back to getting my life back straight in one outing and grabbing my things and whatnot,” Curry explained.
The Diocese of Scranton released a statement to 28/22 News.
Repairs on the plumbing issue are currently underway and will hopefully be completed on Friday. For the health and safety of clients, and after consultation with Wilkes-Barre city officials, Mother Teresa’s Haven is unable to open to clients this evening.Eric Deabill, Secretary of Communications
All men who have been experiencing homelessness and utilizing the emergency shelter at Mother Teresa’s Haven have been offered transportation to either Saint Anthony’s Haven shelter in Scranton or Divine Providence shelter in Hazleton.
However, some homeless men I spoke with tell me that transportation has been difficult to schedule and isn’t always available.
These men haven’t had many people to turn to these past few days but one person who did stop by to help wants to see that change.
This local volunteer is filling in the gaps, driving the homeless to other shelters for clothes, or a warm place to rest.
“These individuals, they need to be given a helping hand so we could move forward in life,” said Scranton resident Ed Workman.
Catholic Social Services says it regrets the inconvenience caused by the emergency closure and is working as quickly as possible to rectify the problem and reopen to the community.