A domestic violence victim tells News13 she has no where to turn for housing.
She is in need of an emergency shelter but keeps getting turned away because the local agencies are full.
Those in charge of the nonprofits tell us they’re doing the best they can navigating the housing crisis.
Nicole Varvaro says, "I realize why a lot of people who are in a domestic violence situation, why they end up giving up and going back because there’s no hope."
Varvaro, who didn’t want her face shown, tells us she thought she did the right thing fleeing her domestic violence situation. But now she and her six year old son have no where to go.
Varvaro says, "Here’s a single, disabled mother with a child and all you want to do is say sorry can’t help you, well you’re not from here, well because you can’t work we can’t help you or we’re at full
capacity, there was always a roadblock and it’s just a circle."
The executive director of Women’s Resources of Monroe County tells us their shelter has been basically at capacity since the pandemic hit. The housing crisis is also causing victims to stay longer than they normally would, which is backing up the availability further.
Women's Resources of Monroe County Executive Director Lauren Peterson says, "Before they were seeing maybe like three-four months, people are having to stay in shelters including ours six, seven nine months down the road because there’s really no where for them to go. Transitional housing programs are full, there’s not a lot of rental capacity in the area and where there are rental capacities, their exponential rent rates are just out of the world."
In the meantime, the nonprofit assesses each situation individually, then provides information and numbers to other agencies.
Peterson says, "Sometimes if we’re full, we’re full. And those instances where someone is actively fleeing a domestic violence situation and they have no where else to go, they’re literally clothes on their back, no other resources, no places to stay, it’s either here or return to the abuser, we’ll try to figure it out. We’ll do the best we can, we have limited resources in that regard but we’ll try to do that when we can. But we really try very strongly to work with that individual on other options, at the very least temporarily."
Varvaro admits as a default someone they know was able to take them in temporarily but she’s running out of time.
Varvaro says, "Makes it to where every day you have to get up and call and hope that somebody will take you, somebody will care about your story."
It’s beyond frustrating for Varvaro to make all of those calls just to be denied every day. She’s calling out for a contingency plan. But the President of Pocono Mountains United Way tells us the only way to connect to sheltering in the entire region is to be put on a waiting list through 'Coordinated Entry' with 211.
Pocono Mountains United Way President/CEO Michael Tukeva says, "An individual would call, they would go through an intake and they are triaged into different degrees of need and then shelters will contact them in following days, weeks, months as spots become available."
The waiting list speaks volumes, this is a problem many people are facing right now.
Tukeva says, "There isn’t enough beds, there isn’t enough support coming to make these shelters more robust but we’re also not addressing the systemic issues of why people are in need of shelter."
Peterson says, "It’s an unfortunate thing that we’re hearing more and more. There's not a lot of resources out there.
Both nonprofit officials encourage people to call their local legislators and advocate not only for funding but work collaboratively to solve the infrastructure issues to provide more affordable housing options.