County providing EMMC new housing for the homeless

Pictured is the sign of the Endless Mountain Mission Center along Route 6 in West Burlington Township.

A modular housing unit that had sat at the Bradford County Airport for the better part of the past decade will soon be used to provide additional shelter for the homeless.

Bradford County Commissioner Ed Bustin highlighted the initiative during Thursday’s commissioners meeting, saying the unit — which he compared to those utilized at the “man camp” in Athens Township — would provide two separate living spaces for the Endless Mountain Mission Center in West Burlington Township once installed.

Commissioner Daryl Miller described them as “efficiency” spaces, while Bustin noted that they both include a kitchenette and a bathroom.

“They are our primary and almost our only homeless shelter,” Bustin added about the EMMC, “and they work very closely with the county, so we’re just trying to boost our resources for individuals.”

Last month, the Bradford County Local Housing Options Team participated in the annual Point-In-Time count of the area’s homeless. It’s a national initiative overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with data used “to refine our picture of homelessness, identify unmet needs, provide data for funding applications, and increase community awareness,” according to a news release from Bradford County Human Services promoting the count in December.

Because the mandated canvassing takes place around mid-January, Bustin feels that the findings “are a little misleading.”

“Some people will take extraordinary measures to find someplace to sleep when the weather is as bad as it is around here,” Bustin said, adding that three homeless people were counted with last month’s survey.

“Troy had some issues not too long ago,” he continued. “We get calls for people under bridges more than I’ve seen in the last couple of years just in the past year.”

Locally, he said Bradford County has stepped up with regard to this issue, which includes the creation of a housing specialist position whose position includes a focus on those who are homeless or in temporary or unsafe housing.

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