Merski, Harkins: More than $200,000 for pandemic-related shelter needs

CARES Act funding will help homeless shelter providers protect residents

ERIE, Nov. 30 – Erie residents facing homelessness will have greater protection thanks to $200,365 in CARES Act funding to area shelters and relief organizations, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the grant funding from the CARES Act will protect residents from combined threats during a particularly dangerous season.

“Homelessness is brutal under any circumstances, but for Pennsylvanians without shelter during the pandemic, it can be a nightmare,” Merski said. “Securing this funding means that folks in our area who need it will have a warm bed and a place to keep themselves and their loved ones safe while they work to rebuild their lives.”

Harkins said, “Home is a safe harbor from the harsh realities of winter and other dangers. This year, residents are facing additional, deadly risks – they need protection from freezing temperatures and unprecedented health risks. Thanks to this funding, there will be a safe harbor for them – and peace of mind.”

The lawmakers said the funding will be shared by the following emergency shelter providers:

  • Erie United Methodist Alliance (also provides street outreach).
  • Community of Caring.
  • Safe Journey.
  • Community Shelter Services.
  • The City Mission.

Pennsylvania received a second allocation of nearly $20 million in Emergency Solution Grant CARES Act funding allocated by HUD. Of that amount, the state Department of Community and Economic Development prioritized the use of nearly $3 million to address emergency winter shelter and temporary shelter needs related to the pandemic. This funding is part of that package and is going to 15 providers in 20 counties.