YWCA Our Voice

Homelessness Awareness Month

During November many of us reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. People often think about their family, friends and having a roof over their head.

For the millions of people across the nation that are experiencing homelessness, having a place to sleep at night is not always guaranteed. People without a permanent residence camp in tents, sleep under bridges, stay in parks or couch surf from place to place. According to the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance, around 16,200 people experience homelessness each night in the state.

November is Homelessness Awareness Month so it is the perfect time to make a difference in the lives of the women, men and children experiencing homelessness in Lycoming County.

Fourteen years ago the YWCA started Liberty House for homeless women and women with children. The transitional living shelter is a two-year program that helped 132 participants last year get back on their feet.

Clients work with a case manager to give them the tools they need to balance a checkbook, create a realistic budget and save money. They help program participants look and apply for jobs so ultimately they move into their own place. Last year 86 percent of Liberty House clients moved into permanent housing.

Every day YWCA staff work to create a positive, safe place for each client that enters the program. Not every day is easy but it is one step closer for a woman to reach her goals.

Homelessness is something that can happen to any of us. Most people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. It would only take one accident, one child getting sick or one car breaking down for them to face eviction or homelessness. At Liberty House we teach women how to overcome their pasts and focus on the future.

As you think about what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving, consider those who do not have everything that you may be blessed with. Taking the time to give back to our community is essential in making Lycoming County a better place for all.

There are some small steps anybody can take to help the homeless women at the YWCA such as donating money, time or clothes to our shelter.

On a different note, if you did not notice that Anna Thompson’s face was not at the top of this column, it is because she has given this important task to me, Megan E. Bloom. As the communications associate at the YWCA Northcentral PA, I will be writing this column to fill Sun-Gazette readers in about what is going on at the YW.

Visit ywcawilliamsport.org or follow us on social media at YWCA Northcentral PA to stay up to date on what’s going on at the organization.

Bloom is the communications associate at the YWCA, 815 W. Fourth St. Her column is published on the first Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section.

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