Students face reality of local homelessness problem

Janessa Cruz ’19, Staff Writer

Every day, there are people who pray that they can find temporary shelter or at least one thing to eat to survive the day.

Students and select panelists gathered in Miller Chapel Lobby to discuss the poverty epidemic in Dauphin and Lebanon counties. Students were able to better understand the service opportunities at the College on Feb. 15.

“We [Support Connections of Lebanon County] believe poverty is about relationships,” director at Support Connections of Lebanon County Lee Smedley, said. “Poverty is a result of relationships being ‘out of whack.’ It may not have to deal with finances.”

Smedley spoke as a panelist and further described the purpose of Support Connections of Lebanon County. The organization is designed for those in need of their services to be ministered and make a faith-based commitment to get out of their financial struggle.

“It’s much more than finances,” Smedley said. “There’s so much going on your life, so many loose edges.”

Troy Williams, executive director at Lebanon County Christian Ministries, also voiced his perspective from working at LCCM.

“If you take away drug addiction and mental illness. It’s the decision-making process and ability of being self-sufficient that yields results,” Williams said. “You learn what is modeled before you.”

Williams clarified that broken homes are a huge factor to people ending up impoverished because they experience desperate decisions and bad habits. The uninformed and the inability to live independently is the result. LCCM is trying to help those not educated in this decision-making and considers themselves a first response shelter. The resource center is available to any individual.

“When you sit around at a dinner table, that is where the conversations happen.” Williams said. “It’s never just one thing. Homelessness effects everyone.”