AUTHOR: Morgan Wasikonis
Morgan Wasikonis is the Executive Director of Housing Transitions and The HOME Foundation
PHONE: (814) 237-4863
When facing a crisis, it can be hard to know which way to turn. We all need some help finding direction and navigating challenges in our lives. The challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic have continue to affect all of us, and especially those who were already in crisis mode, or on the brink of it. Unstable mental health, substance abuse, job instability, and stress in relationships have all be on the rise. We are fortunate to be able to offer many resources to help address these issues in Centre County. And when one or more of these challenges cause a housing crisis, Housing Transitions is here to help.
Our Centre House Shelter Program has not missed a beat during the pandemic, and we have continued to provide shelter and guidance throughout the past year and half, just like we have since 1984. Well, it might not have been just like usual, because we have provided hotel and apartments as shelter to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, in addition to rooms in our congregate space. Our community has supported the effort to keep all our clients safe and to social distance and we have been able to secure funding to pay the added costs. The challenges are not over yet, though, even though we see signs of normalcy on the horizon.
For us, “getting back to normal,” means eviction moratoriums will be lifted, and current supports in place due to the crisis at hand, will go away. Rest assured, we have not been holding our breaths waiting for it to happen, though. We have been planning ahead and preparing along with other service agencies in Centre County. Housing Transitions has been able to secure additional funding to support a Rapid Rehousing Program in addition to the one we normally operate. This helps support even more people who are considered homeless with a period of rental assistance. We also have been awarded grants to continue to provide hotel rooms as shelter for those experiencing homelessness. This allows us to increase our capacity by sheltering in congregate and non-congregate spaces.
We have also looked to proactively prevent evictions by making referrals to the Centre County Emergency Rental Assistance Program and coordinating with area providers to connect households with services that address some of the root causes of housing instability. Together, we hope to see Centre County residents emerge stronger than ever.
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the service providers, local government entities, landlords, and community supporters who have helped throughout this crisis and help us continue to provide our continuum of housing services in the future.
For assistance regarding your housing emergency, please call the Centre House Shelter at (814) 237-5508.