HARRISBURG, Pa. — As temperatures continue to drop, the safety of people struggling with homelessness is on the minds of many.
In the shadows of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex, Christian Churches United (CCU) is opening its doors and offering shelter to Harrisburg’s homeless.
“Especially when they know that rain is coming, snow is coming, they’re here really early and line up," said Aisha Mobley, a volunteer at the Christian Churches United women's shelter.
“On these frigid winter nights, there are enough places for people to sleep and get out of the elements," said Steve Schwartz, the director of development for CCU.
The church operates two of Harrisburg’s three winter homeless shelters. One shelter is for men on North 12th Street and the other is a women’s shelter at Grace United Methodist Church on State Street.
“We can take up to 25 guests, and we’re just ready to make sure we can provide good service," said Brenda Strawbridge, the manager of the women's shelter.
The shelters serve around 100 people during the winter months and offer guests food, toiletries, and warm clothes. Volunteers also work to direct people towards services, setting them up for permanent housing.
“Our goal is to do a coordinated entry assessment on them," said Mobley. "So, if they trust us enough, we’re able to get that information and that’s what leads to the housing programs all across Dauphin County.”
The CCU consists of over 100 member churches, which donate critical money and supplies to both Harrisburg shelters.
“We couldn’t do it without them. They are the wind beneath our wings," said Mobley. "So, many of our churches donate regularly once the word gets out. They also supply us with volunteers at both of our shelters.”
The shelters are now open, and volunteers are welcoming their guests with open arms.