Local program upgrading services to help Schuylkill County homeless

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The upcoming months are going to be very hard for those who are homeless.

But starting in the new year, a local program is trying to make things more comfortable for people as they get through hard times. The first time Joseph Pinnelle walked into Servants To All about six years ago, he was homeless and scared.

“I never asked anyone for anything in my life and then when I became homeless, like really bad, and these people were here for me,” Pinnelle, a former client, said.

Far too often, executive director Janeatte Triano Sinn meets clients just like Pinnelle.

“They’ll tell me ‘didn’t want to come in. I was embarrassed.’ They crossed the hardest part just by walking through the door asking for help,” Sinn said.

Despite many feeling reluctant, the only homeless program in Schuylkill County has been able to help hundreds over the years. A lot of that help came from the United Presbyterian Church in Pottsville. The church provided space for clients to spend the night since 2016.

“Let’s face it, none of us woke up and said ‘this year I want to become homeless.’ It’s not one of the goals but it happens,” Wayne Herring of Servants To All said.

In the new year, Servants To All is upgrading services by partnering with agencies to provide the homeless with personal living accommodations. This will give them more privacy and independence while holding them accountable as they work their way back into society.

“Trying to get them back to, you know, have their own place, have their own job and their own income and see them thrive based on their success. We just want to be able to give that back to them,” Sinn said.

A life that former client and current volunteer Timothy Kitson says is possible.

“If you’re asking for help, you probably need it. You may not know why you need it, but this is a good place to be,” Kitson said.

Servants To All also plans to focus on outreach and prevention in the new year. The organization has been offering programs since 2012.

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