YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Many of us are bundled up in our warm homes during these cold days, but for the homeless, that’s not an option.
A Midstate shelter is dealing with historic overcrowding during the past month. All 28 beds have been full since mid-November at the Lifepath Christian Ministries men’s shelter along West Market Street in York. This led them to open up their emergency shelter to make sure no one has to be outside braving the elements.
“At that time I had a full beard, so he could tell that I was homeless. I had a tarp on the ground, and I got some rope and tied the tarp to the tree so that I could have some over cover,” said Benjamin Crosland, who stayed at the shelter.
Crosland slept outside in the cold and wind. Now, he’s getting shelter at the Ministries, formerly the York Rescue Mission.
“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in individuals needing overnight shelter, so because of that, we’ve had to move into our overflow, which is here in the chapel. We have to lay out the available cots and blankets and beds to accommodate all those that are seeking shelter,” said Matt Carey, executive director of Lifepath Christian Ministries.
The shelter is putting about 20 men every night on mats. They’re prepared with 100 mats for this winter.
“Here it gets cold, and you have the humidity, so it gets cold and then it gets wet. It’s more of a damper cold. It’ll snow and it’ll freeze, and then you can freeze to death,” Crosland said.
Carey also believes the economy and job loss could be contributing to the overcrowding, in addition to the weather.
“A lot of these men would end up living under bridges or in any type of makeshift shelter that they could find. Some even resort to going to abandoned buildings where it’s not safe,” Carey said.
The shelter is in need of winter supplies to help the homeless. These includes razors, shampoo, blankets, winter coats, gloves, hats, and boots. You can drop them off at Lifepath Christian Ministries at 367 West Market Street in York.