State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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House members call for study of homelessness in PA

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 6, 2014 5:15 AM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Susquehanna Harbor Safe Haven's emergency overnight men's shelter in Harrisburg, Pa.

A bipartisan pair of state lawmakers is hoping to take a closer look at homelessness in Pennsylvania. Their proposal calls for a study to focus on the occurrence, effects, and trends of homelessness.

"Every year there's a point-in-time study that is done about how many homeless there are in Harrisburg," said Dale Lanigan, who helps coordinate volunteers at an emergency overnight men's shelter in the state's capital city. "I'd be reluctant to say that the numbers have increased, but the studies that are done each year shows that they have."

He said he'd welcome a statewide report to answer questions he's asked in recent years about whether homelessness is on the rise.

"The evidence would be that with various programs funding that, where funding has been cut, there is a greater need," Lanigan said. "Where people are going remains to be seen."

The resolution proposing the study comes from Rep. Ted Harhai (D-Westmoreland) and Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York).

"Statistics show that family, veteran and chronic homelessness have all risen in Pennsylvania between 2011 and 2012," Harhai wrote in a legislative memo.

The resolution awaits a committee vote.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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