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Keystone Mission Overnight Shelter Opens in Luzerne County

Contributed by: Margaret Roarty, Times Leader

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Keystone Mission officially opened its new overnight shelter Monday in the Wilkes-Barre Innovation Center for Homeless and Poverty, located at 90 E. Union St., where individuals experiencing homelessness will now have a safe place to rest for the night, as well as access to other services such as showers, meals and more.

Funding for the shelter, which will be open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day, was made possible due to a $109,500 grant from the city’s American Rescue Plan funds, which was approved by Wilkes-Barre City Council in April.

The grant will cover the cost of staffing for an entire year, after which the Keystone Mission will add that cost into its yearly budget in order for the shelter to stay in operation.

“This is something that is definitely needed for this community, and we’re grateful to the city for stepping up to the task and making sure individuals can come to a place where they can get services not just during the day, but having shelter at night,” said Keystone Mission CEO and Executive Director Danielle Keith-Alexandre during the grand opening.

The ceremony was attended by Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown, several city council members, Keystone Mission staff, and state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski.

The shelter can house up to 50 guests a night and is open to men, women and children experiencing homelessness in the area. The shelter also has a private room for families

According to Brown, the overnight shelter will officially replace the city’s Code Blue shelter that operated from October to March.

This overnight shelter is the newest service offered at the Innovation Center for Homelessness and Poverty, which officially opened its doors in October 2023.

Other resources offered at the facility include continental breakfast, laundry services during the day, and emergency clothing.

Keystone Mission also helps guests obtain government ID, such as a driver’s license, and gain skills to build up their resumes through its Pathfinders program.

During the event, Brown said that services like the ones provided by Keystone Mission are vital in helping people get back on their feet and reintegrate into society.

However, speaking with Pashinski and others during a tour of the facility, Program Director of Scranton Keystone Mission Lasha Wyman-Klein acknowledged that even with these resources available, people experiencing homelessness still face many challenges when seeking permanent housing.

“We’re not seeing individuals that are not motivated to work. We do have individuals who work, but we have a lack of affordable housing in the area,” she explained.


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