The Pennsylvania House could be a proud Phoenixville landmark. Located on High Street in what is referred to as “the North Side,” it has slowly morphed from a boarding house offering inexpensive rooms to those in need, to the kind of place that is barely inhabitable.
Local code enforcement made it official last week. Apparently the lack of central heat and the presence of bed bugs were minor compared to faulty wiring and a gas leak. The borough had no choice but to shut it down, which made more than 20 people instantly homeless.
The borough did its job; it removed folks from a potentially dangerous situation. What they did not do was provide a new home for those who were displaced. After all, how could they?
Certainly some help was offered and folks were kept warm and dry on a cold, rainy night. For one night.
Now, the problem and the solution falls to us. Decide for yourself who “us” includes. It could be the shelters; certainly the Good Samaritan Shelter down the street is doing what they can, but they are at capacity. Maybe it’s the county ... but the county organization called Connect Points in West Chester can point to only a handful of beds. Is it the state, or the Red Cross? I don’t know, but eventually the solution will come from caring people who will provide housing, money, assistance or direction until these folks all have a warm, safe and dry place that they can afford.
The need is urgent, comparable to the needs of flood or fire victims. We need to mobilize now. We need to reach out, and think deeper. I know that we can, and hope that we will.
Who can you ask? Who will you tell? What might you have to offer?
Any help or suggestions are welcomed. Contact Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org.