Pottsville overnight shelter expands to accommodate growing homeless population


POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The number of those struggling to keep a roof over their heads in Schuylkill County is growing. Now, the only shelter around is trying to figure out how to help more and more people.
“I needed help,” said formerly homeless Randy Zimmerman.

Zimmerman stayed at Schuylkill County’s only homeless shelter this past summer. Since then, he’s completed the day program at My Father’s House — the nonprofit that runs the shelter. Upon completion, randy secured an apartment and a job. But six months ago, his life was very different.

“I had no place to go. I had a job, I lost it,” he said.

Out of options, he made the decision to change his life, by walking through the program’s doors in Pottsville.

“It’s been very busy. We actually had three new intakes today alone,” said Jeanette Triano Sinn, executive director.

“It’s winter time, where you going to go,” questioned Zimmerman.

My Father’s House opened the overnight shelter in November 2016. It’s run out of the United Presbyterian Church in Pottsville. During the past year, officials say the homelss population has grown.

“We’re serving almost 50-percent more clients on a daily basis,” said Triano Sinn.

Previously, the shelter only took in men; housing women at nearby hotels. But now, the shelter has been divided; one side for women and the other for men.

There are currently 10 people staying here at the shelter. All of them are enrolled in the restoration program at My Father’s House. Through that they’ve each obtained a job and are getting back on their feet one day at a time.

In order to get a bed at the shelter, you must agree to make an effort. During the day, employees and volunteers help people fill out job and housing applications.

“We really try to get people in and out within a month, said Triano Sinn.

She says the goal is to make them self-sustaining, while giving them a safe, warm environment.

The nonprofit is also making some changes to the day program location in Pottsville. It plans to use a grant to put up showers, which is still in the planning phases.

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