Allentown has plan to eliminate chronic homelessness

If our neighbors to the west can end homelessness we can as well.

Allentown leaders today unveiled an ambitious 10-year plan to eliminate chronic homelessness in the city that relies on increasing access to community and mental health services so people remain in housing.

“We’re doing this because this is the right thing to do,” said Lisa Polanski, the mayor’s wife and co-chair of Allentown’s Commission to End Chronic Homelessness.

The plan is the culmination of year’s worth of meetings between more than 50 city and Lehigh County officials, churches, social agencies, hospitals and area leaders.

“It’s going to take the whole community,” said the Rev. Dr. Christine Nelson, head of Lehigh County Conference of Churches and Pawlowski’s co-chair. “We’re going to need bankers, movers and shakers and Congress people.”

The plan offers a mufti-prong approach to solving a problem described as “complex” by experts. In Allentown, there are roughly 200 chronic homeless, a condition defined as someone who has been on the streets for about a year, or has had four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

— Reporting by Kathleen Parish, The Morning Call
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