Northern Tier PA did not receive the Wolf administration’s award of nearly $1.5 million for homelessness assistance

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A man stands near tents set up on a sidewalk in San Francisco, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Some counties in California are pushing ahead with plans to wind down a program that’s housed homeless people in hotel rooms amid the pandemic, despite an emergency cash infusion from the state aimed at preventing those same residents from returning to the streets in cold, rainy weather as the virus surges. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

TIOGA COUNTY, Pa (WETM) – Governor Tom Wolf announced nearly 1.5 million in funding will be awarded to assist Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness. Funding was approved for five counties, none of them in the Northern Tier.

“All Pennsylvanians need a safe place to live, and this critical funding will continue to help individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet,” said Gov. Wolf.

Tioga County was one of the counties to not receive any grant money where the county’s only homeless shelter, Tioga County Homeless Initiative resides. The director of the shelter, Abby Thorborg, supposes that the ruralness of the Northern Tier could be why those counties might have not received the money.

“It would definitely be different if you looked at city homelessness because you don’t see them, they don’t walk down the street, they don’t walk down the road, you don’t see them,” said Thorborg.

Typically, homelessness is thought of as an urban phenomenon. But Thorborg advocates for those that are unseen and widely overlooked.

“They’re there, but they’re hidden… We do have a homeless issue, it’s just not as pronounced in the rural areas,” said Thorborg.

Renters in Pennsylvania have been struggling to make their rent payments during a pandemic year, but the moratorium on evictions has been helping them out. The eviction moratorium in Pennsylvania is set to be lifted at the end of July and Thorborg is expecting “a full shelter,” due to people possibly getting evicted.

The $1.5 million is being awarded through Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act funding that will go to ten organizations. The grant awards include:

  • $655,220 to Monroe County: Family Promise of Monroe and Women’s Resources of Monroe County
  • $512,761 to Bucks County: A Woman’s Place, Family Service Association, Valley Youth House and YWCA Bucks County
  • $177,460 to Dauphin County: Capital Area Coalition on Homelessness, Latino Connection and Valley Youth House
  • $61,480 to Wayne County: Wayne County Human Service Agency
  • $53,359 to Lehigh County: Greater Valley YMCA

Had Tioga County Homeless Initiative received the grant, Thorborg would have used it to fund the essentials such as food and supplies for people at the shelter. She said volunteers no longer come and bring in food, so the guests have to cook their own dinners with the food they supply them.

Thorborg is one of two employees at the shelter. She hires interns every semester, where students can work a get a learning experience at the shelter. More information on that can be found at their website: https://www.tiogahomeless.org/

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