Study on homelessness proposed in Pa.

      Susquehanna Harbor Safe Haven emergency overnight shelter in Harrisburg. (Mary Wilson/for NewsWorks)

    Susquehanna Harbor Safe Haven emergency overnight shelter in Harrisburg. (Mary Wilson/for NewsWorks)

    Two state lawmakers are hoping to take a closer look at homelessness in Pennsylvania.

    The proposal calls for a study to focus on the occurrence, effects, and trends of homelessness.

     

    Dale Lanigan, who helps coordinate volunteers at an emergency overnight men’s shelter in Harrisburg, said he’d welcome a statewide report to answer questions he’s asked before about whether homelessness is on the rise.

    “The evidence would be that with various programs … where funding has been cut, there just, there is a greater need,” he said. “Where people are going remains to be seen.”

    In Philadelphia, a Housing and Urban Development one-night study found 5,645 individuals were homeless or in temporary shelters in January 2013.

    The study would not focus on the causes of homelessness. As far as Lanigan is concerned, what’s more interesting are the effective remedies.

    “I’m less interested in the cause than the fact that, if a person’s got a need, I think we, as a society, should be providing some assistance,” he said.

    The resolution proposing the study comes from two House members, a Democrat and a Republican.In a memo, they say homelessness has increased in the commonwealth between 2011 and 2012.

    The resolution awaits a committee vote.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.