SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Lackawanna County homeless shelter reopens after a burst pipe caused the building to close for three days this week.
A pipe burst Monday night inside a building operated by Catholic Social Services in downtown Scranton. It houses Saint Anthony’s Haven, an overnight emergency homeless shelter, and Saint James Manor, a transitional housing facility.
15 residents were displaced and the shelter was forced to close. Guests like Blaine Houck were turned away and told to go to other facilities.
“This was a setback, of course. We come here to see if we could stay overnight, and we see all those emergency vehicles so we knew. And the firemen told us that the building was unsafe so we had to go somewhere else that was Weston Field,” Houck told Eyewitness News.
The shelter remained closed until Thursday night. Organizers say repair crews worked around the clock for three days to allow them to reopen as quickly as possible.
“The electricity is obviously back on, the water is running, we got the green light on the fire safety system today, so we are fully operational in that respect. There is some cosmetic issues still in there that we’re working through but we’re gonna be safe and warm for the evening,” said Harry Lyons, program supervisor at St. Anthony’s Haven.
Serving the community is a critical mission of this organization. Deborah Chandler says she’s thankful to have a warm place to stay during cold winter nights.
“I’m relieved. I mean, someday when I get on my feet, if I ever won the lottery, I would give st. Anthony’s the money to fund them because they helped us and we appreciate it,” she said.
A sentiment that Houck echoes.
“We appreciate all the people who help us,” Houck said.
For more information on the programs and services offered by catholic social services, head to the church’s website.