Helping the homeless in NEPA

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A unique fundraiser Wednesday night hopes to give the area’s homeless another option to rest, eat, and a chance at a new start in life.

The non-profit is called Keystone Mission, and their mission is to provide more than just the basic necessities.

“I had everything and now I have nothing,” Michael Granza, Sr. said.

Granza has been living on the streets of Wilkes-Barre for the last nine months. The two-time cancer survivor says an eviction from a landlord and a failed relationship left him homeless on Public Square.

“This is where I stay most of the time in the daytime. Because there’s no place to go except for the library, and you can only stay there so long,” Granza said.

At night, Granza seeks refuge at Saint Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception homeless shelter. But his time there is limited.

“Now my situation is a little better. I just got into the shelter here in Wilkes-Barre. They give you 30 days here,” Granza said.

Soon, he’ll have another option. Keystone Mission, a non-profit organization, works to help homeless people like Granza in northeast Pennsylvania.

“Being faith-based, we don’t take any government dollars. And by not taking any government dollars we’re not regulated to those rules and regulations that are out there so a good example is, if anyone comes through our doors, they can stay with us for as long as it takes to get them better,” Keystone Mission executive director/CEO Justin Behrens said.

The group hosts an annual 24-hour event on the benches of Public Square to raise awareness of homelessness and raise money for their new 15-bed transformation center slated to open in the Diamond City next year.

“That’s gonna actually have individuals that are are going to be able to live with us 24/7 and get them back on track, get them jobs, get them stable housing get them a place to live so that we can move them in the right direction,” Behrens said.

Granza says he’ll be the first in line. Until then, he encourages everyone to be thankful.

“Any day and time, you can lose everything you got, just like me,” Granza said.

Keystone Mission also has a day center in Scranton.
For more information on homeless shelters and social services available in our area, visit www.pa211.org.

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