LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Last year, about 20 people were living on the streets of Lancaster. In 2023, that number has skyrocketed up into the triple digits.
“107 individuals across the entire county were unsheltered,” director of human services for the Lancaster County Housing and Development Authority Deb Jones said.
Hundreds more are using shelters. However, Jones believes that it’s difficult for homeless people to find any form of housing in the county right now.
“One of the barriers to homelessness has to do with the affordable housing,” she said. “Lancaster County is not an exception to the affordable housing crisis that we’re experiencing.”
Data revealed that people living in Lancaster County have to be making $24.63 an hour in order to be able to live in a two-bedroom apartment at fair market value.
With the number of homeless people rising in the county, the Housing and Redevelopment Authority is looking to add more places to shelter, including in an area along S. Prince Street tailored for multiple needs.
“It’s about 10,000 square feet on each floor that will be converted over to a center hub,” said Jones. “A hub not just for individuals that are experiencing homelessness but for the community at large.”
“We’ll be working with the city on opening additional low-barrier beds so that we have a capacity of 80 beds for the winter months,” executive director of the Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Justin Eby said.
Covid relief funds along with state and federal money are helping make this happen. Ultimately, Eby says addressing this problem takes everyone’s best effort.
“Folks are struggling to support their housing needs and that’s what we are trying to do is collectively have an impact on addressing the housing and homelessness issues,” said Eby.