Homeless shelter opens in Scranton to house people displaced by COVID-19

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) There’s a new homeless shelter in Scranton dedicated to helping those struggling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Weston Field House in Scranton has a new use—providing a home for the homeless. The new shelter is a stay-in-place shelter.

“They will be staying here permanently until this is over, until it’s announced we can go back to normal,” said Justin Beherns, Executive Director of Keystone Mission.

In order to follow physical distancing guidelines, the rule of shelter is if a person leaves the grounds of the shelter, they will not be allowed back in. Beherns says many people are facing homelessness during the pandemic as many have been laid off because businesses have closed.

Beherns explained one family’s situation.

“He told us that because of of this whole outbreak he now lives in his car with his wife and his dog and he’s trying to get back on track and be back to where he was before,” said Beherns.

The shelter is ready to house 25 people. It is a joint effort between Keystone Mission and Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti

“In having this shelter and other shelters that are open, it gives people who are facing homelessness somewhere to go where they don’t have to interact with people as much,” Cognetti said.

Not only did Beherns organize the shelter, he’s actually living with the homeless to show his commitment to helping them.

“Now we’re hearing the stories, we’re living with them. We’re not just a rotating staff member. We’re really with them and really trying to make a change.”

The shelter opened last night and already has five people living in it.

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