UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have been wide-ranging, shaping everything from the fight against food insecurity to how local non-profits are providing mental health services and support to families in need.
Housing security — an individual or family’s secure, unthreatened access to housing— has been one of the areas most impacted by the pandemic, with local agencies that fight housing insecurity reporting a significant jump in the number of people in need of assistance.
“From just March to October, we provided over 1,000 extra nights of shelter compared to the average of the same period in previous years,” said Morgan Wasikonis, executive director of Housing Transitions. “We provided approximately 1,600 nights of shelter the two preceding years — over this past year, we provided more than 2,600 nights of shelter.”
Working ‘on overdrive’
Housing Transitions is a local non-profit and partner agency of the Centre County United Way that shelters individuals experiencing homelessness, provides assistance to help prevent homelessness and continues to support and empower individuals after experiencing homelessness to help them achieve long-term housing security. The agency operates the Centre House Homeless Shelter, as well as a permanent supportive housing program for people with a documented disability who have experienced chronic homelessness.