For Pike County Hands of Hope, helping the homeless is an act of love
“The root cause for homelessness is that people living month to month are in a very fragile situation,” Rocco said, giving an example of a stay-at-home mother with a young child and an eight-year-old autistic child, where the father is the sole provider, and then he got hurt; or a person who can’t get transportation to work following a car accident, hitting a deer. “People fall on bad times for one reason or another,” she said.
Keeping families facing a crisis from becoming homeless in the first place is a top priority for the organization—whether it’s helping someone who’s received an eviction notice find less expensive rental housing or perhaps renegotiating a new, more affordable lease with a landlord, or just helping a client move. For now, finding emergency shelter is a bit challenging, as Pike County has no emergency shelters, something PCHOH hopes to remedy in the long run. For now, Hands of Hope is equipped to get emergency cases into a hotel, Rocco reported. Also in the planning stages is a community dining project called Stock Pot of Hope, in which meals would be served in a community-dining setting to those without food security.
Meantime, Rocco explained, “We refer people to all kinds of organizations depending on their needs… We have a 30-page referral book with all kinds of resources.”
Currently PCHOH is awaiting word from the federal government about its application to become an official non-profit organization, a so-called 501(c)3. This would allow donors to take tax deductions. Meantime, “we’ve been blessed by donors, by the churches that support us, by the Milford Knights of Columbus and the Hawley Rotary,” Rocco reported. She also wanted to thank two shelters, the Samaritan Inn in Franklin, NJ and Peaceful Knights in Lehighton, PA for their assistance.
Meantime, “the need is growing,” Rocco reported. “We continue to pray that our community keeps gifting us so we can continue our work, while we’re waiting for our non-profit approval… [but] right now, this is all we have to count on,” she said. “It’s been amazing—what we’ve needed we’ve always gotten.”
To receive information about PCHOH, email info@PikeCountyHOH.org.