Library connects with community services to combat homelessness

By on January 10, 2018

The Ephrata Public Library is using the cold weather to extend a warm welcome to the community’s homeless population. In these single digit temperatures, the library has opened its doors to provide a place for homeless people to come in and get warm. They can read a book, check out a laptop and watch a movie, and most importantly, get signed up for help services including transportation and finding emergency housing.

“There is no place for the homeless population to go,” said Penny Talbert, executive director of the library. “The closest place is Water Street. There is a big need in this community.”

In addition to opening its doors to provide a refuge from the cold, the library is in the process of renovating the Library Exploratorium and they have big plans for this building. The goal is to create a Northern Lancaster Community Hub, providing transportation for the homeless community to reach necessary services, operated out of the Exploratorium.

Working alongside the Declaration House in Denver, the library hopes to implement the new community hub by summer.

“We don’t want homelessness and broken relationships,” said Joy Ashley, Director of Development. “By summer, we hope to buy a vehicle, find a driver, and implement this system. Obviously, we would like to see less need for emergency shelter in this area. But at the very least, the hope is to see an increase in lower income housing and apartments.”

This initative will connect several community services and organizations such as VITA, WellSpan Health, Welsh Mountain Health Centers, and LHOP, to name a few.

“Ultimately, we’re here to serve everybody,” Talbert said. “Transportation is the biggest issue. We are working to link as many local services as we can.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *