Identifying Kane area homeless to begin Thursday

Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

Action to identify the homeless population in the Kane area will begin Thursday.
Representatives from the Young Women’s Christian Association in Bradford will be based at the Kane Area Community Center from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday.
Homeless individuals and families are urged to stop at the community center to speak with the YWCA agents.
The representatives will be Kristie Chase, the homeless shelter manager at the YWCA, and Robbin Puvel, services coordinator.
The YWCA plans to send representatives to the Kane every other Thursday for three months to assist Kane’s homeless and “couch-surfing” population.
YWCA representatives will be based at the community center in Kane from 9 a.m. to noon every other Thursday starting this Thursday — Valentine’s Day.
“We will plan to follow this schedule for three months and will then evaluate our progress,” YWCA Executive Director Vanessa Castano said Tuesday. “We will be using feedback from this group as part of our evaluation.”
Castano, a 1994 graduate of Kane Area High School, said the YWCA “outreach program” is designed to “understand” the depth of the homeless situation in Kane.
Castano said there is solid evidence that Kane has individuals and families who are considered homeless or jump from one friend or relative to another for shelter.
The YWCA maintains a 22-bed facility in Bradford to serve the homeless. However, this site is “always full,” Castano said.
“We have a waiting list,” she said.
Castano said the YWCA may consider the development of additional shelters, including one in the Kane area.
More than 25 attended a public meeting last month on the homeless problem in Kane. Another meeting is tentatively planned for Feb. 28.
Castano said the main purpose of the upcoming every-other-Thursday sessions at the Kane community center is to “identify” the needs for the homeless in the local area.
The every-other-Thursday schedule for the YWCA representatives in Kane will run through April. The program could be extended, if the need is warranted, Castano said.
“We want to serve Kane’s homeless to the best of our ability,” Castano said. “First, we will try to understand what the need is.”
Those who are unable to attend the Thursday session at the Kane community center should call 368-4235 for services.