STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A limited number of cold weather shelters in Monroe County is causing concern for the homeless population.
Cold weather is here to stay and is now a matter of safety for those outside. At mid-day in Stroudsburg, the thermometer read 38 degrees. As the sun goes down and temperatures drop, those without homes are looking for a warm place to sleep at night.
Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church’s cold weather shelter is the only overnight shelter in Monroe County, allowing its visitors to come and go for the past nine years.
“Last year, we had 25 people a night on an average. This year, we have 35, 40 people every single night,” Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church shelter manager Peter Mankin said.
The newly renovated shelter has a kitchen, showers, and bunk beds operating seven days a week from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“When they leave at 6 they don’t have many places to go. So I think what’s really needed is a place where they can go for two, three hours a day and just warm up,” Mankin said.
Another cold weather resource in NEPA that helps our country’s veterans is run by veterans.
“We get emergency calls from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and we can place veterans in hotels for up to three nights,” Operation Chill Out rapid response team coordinator Al Compoly said.
Operation Chill Out’s 24-hour hotline is there for veterans who need housing and necessities for severe weather.
“Our veterans are still out there on the street. I think that is very important to give back,” Compoly said.
The organization recently purchased an old church and office building in Mount Pocono to have a larger presence in the area.