Carlisle borough council working on solutions for homeless population

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – As of Wednesday, 102 families in Cumberland County are considered homeless.

Ninety-seven of those households’ last addresses were located in Carlisle.

With the number of homelessness ballooning, borough officials are looking for ways to keep people off the street and on their feet without burdening taxpayers.

Borough officials and experts agree that more affordable housing is needed to help curb homelessness.

“Unfortunately, that has to do with dollars and funding. I mean, we’re doing a great job now, but there needs to be more supportive housing, more transitional housing,” Mayor Tim Scott said.

Carlisle is looking to fully combat the issue, an issue Scott said has become more visible over the years.

For Derreck Clark, this problem carries a personal stake. He recently became homeless in Carlisle after moving from Atlanta for construction work.

“It was a real panic. I was, like, sitting on the side of the hotel roadway. I was sitting there wondering what I was gonna do, you know?” Clark said.

Work became more scarce, and when he ran out of money, he turned to a shelter, Community Cares.

Throughout his misfortune, though, he believes that he is one of the lucky ones.

“They don’t want to come into the shelter. They have a diagnosis where they can’t be around people. It freaks them out, and they might hurt someone,” Clark said.

Clark thought Wednesday’s discussion was a good start. He hopes the conversation leads to more action.

“We never get those memos with the numbers and figures and stuff. So, that’s not important. What’s important to us is where am I going to sleep tonight? What am I going to eat today,” he asked.

Carlisle hopes to answer those questions and more. Some changes are simple like keeping parks open one night a week for people to sleep and forming a coalition.

“Where monthly or bi-weekly they get together and they figure out how can we make the quality of life better for everyone in our community,” Scott said.

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