Finding shelter, medical care

Local News

ERIE, Pa. — Ahead of inclement weather, dozens of people poured into our Neighbor’s Place: The Overflow Shelter, which serves 50-70 people each night.

Erie resident Art Moore said this is his second winter staying at the shelter.

“They have showers here. They feed us very well. We get breakfast in the mornings,” he said. “No arguing. No fighting in the place. They serve us excellent(ly).”

John Landis, a veteran without a home, said, “This is a very good organization with these overflow shelters. They’re taking care of me and there’s a couple of other vets here.”

He said his monthly check does not provide enough money for a place of his own.

“All I get is retirement from regular SSI and that’s $630 a month,” said Landis. “You can’t live on that.”

Besides warmth and food, people are receiving medical attention from the St. Vincent Mobile Medical Unit.

Camille Kuntz, RN, said, “We like to provide health services for people that may not have a family doctor, or might not have access to any kind of medical help.”

She said, “When they first come on, we do their vital signs, their blood pressure, their temperature. We listen to their heart and lungs. They do a general physical exam.”

Community Shelter Services partners with the churches and groups like Faith Community Nurses.

“Everything that we do is holistic. So, it’s not just physical health. It’s mental health. It’s social health. It’s housing,” said Barbara Lewis, RN, of Erie United Methodist Alliance and a coordinator of Faith Community Nurses. “We try to make sure we help them find housing.”

It is a part of the effort to help people. 

Moore said, “We have lost a lot of people out in this world, and they passed away in the cold weather.”

Millcreek Community Church is hosting the shelter at St. John’s Lutheran Church daily through Dec. 19, from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

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