Rural homeless a growing problem in PA

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Oct 10, 2012 4:36 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Advocates for affordable housing say homelessness is a growing problem in the commonwealth's rural areas.

Some 200 people are visiting Bloomsburg University for a conference looking at the challenges of offering shelter and services in what's seen as an emerging problem in less-populated areas.

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania Executive Director Liz Hersh says rural homeless often goes unnoticed.

"It's people living in cars, in old trailer parks that maybe aren't fit for human habitation any more, it's tent encampments, it's people doubled up, tripled-up, living in places that are abandoned," Hersh says.

She says nonprofits and religious organizations will likely be called on to provide more services for the homeless, as establishing county homeless shelter systems could be costly.

She adds a lack of access to good jobs, health care and transportation often compound problems for homeless people in rural areas.

witf's Tim Lambert has reported on rural homelessness for our Real Life | Real Issues series

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