CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Centre County is experiencing a rising number of homeless community members reaching out for assistance.
“Demand for our services has definitely increased,” Executive Director of Centre County’s Housing Transitions, Morgan Wasikonis said.
Housing Transitions is a walk-in center for homeless individuals and families seeking housing assistance.
That includes a shelter (217 E Nittany Ave, State College, PA 16801) with 12 beds.
Anyone experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis can call (814) 237-4865 and complete an assessment that determines what services they may be eligible for.
“The numbers have increased exponentially,” said Wasikonis. “It’s well over 150 people right now.”
Based on that data, Wasikonis said they’re also hearing from people in higher income brackets than they’ve ever seen before.
Another Centre County shelter, Out of the Cold (318 S. Atherton St., State College, PA 16801), can house about 20 overnight guests. They said their waitlists are also growing.
“There’s not enough, really, beds for people that are experiencing homelessness,” Wasikonis said.
She said they are actively working on the issue.
“We have taken steps to try to address more homelessness and be able to serve more people than ever before,” said Wasiknois.
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She said that includes an application for additional rapid housing funds, utilizing emergency housing vouchers, and housing counseling.
Centre County Government is continuing to accept applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) which was created to assist with rent and utility payments following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our community has been coming together to try to figure out what ways to solve this problem,” said Wasikonis. “But, we’re definitely in a situation where that need is increasing very quickly.”
Further resources can be found here:
- Housing Transitions Walk-In Center – Resource for literally and chronically homeless individuals and families seeking housing assistance. (814) 237-4865
- Out of the Cold: Centre County (OOTC) – Assists homeless individuals ages 18 and up who are homeless. Local churches provide overnight stays as needed to those seeking help. (814) 852-8864
- Centre House – Shelter for men, women, and children. (814) 237-5508
- Centre Safe – Domestic Violence Emergency Shelter. (814) 234-5222
- Centre County Youth Service Bureau Burrowes Street Youth Haven Shelter – For males and females aged 12 to 17 years old. (814) 234-2100
- Centre County Youth Service Bureau Stepping Stones – Assist males and females aged 16 to 21 years old with emergency and transitional housing and case management services. (814) 234-2791