Endless Mountain Mission Center Works to End Homelessness in Bradford County
Endless Mountain Mission Center (EMMC) near Troy, PA works to address homelessness here in Bradford County. I recently spoke with their director, Tammy Storrs, about what EMMC is doing.
While homelessness in Bradford County may not be evident to you or me, that is due to the efforts of people like Tammy and the volunteers at EMMC. Tammy explained that EMMC handles 5-7 calls a week these days. “half are literally homeless, sleeping in cars, tents, sheds and half are moving from couch to couch staying with friends and family,” Tammy told me. When possible, these people are sheltered at EMMC.
To stay at EMMC there are rules that need to be followed. “People here can’t have pets. They have to sign in and out when they come and go. We don’t allow any drugs or alcohol.” Mental health issues impact a person’s ability to stay as well. If they self-harm, for example, they have to leave EMMC. The reason, Tammy explained, is that “We have to think about the welfare of everyone staying here.” They may be taken to the hospital or BSU for treatment and then they are placed in a hotel. If someone can’t stay at EMMC, for whatever reason, Tammy works with other agencies in the county’s network to find housing for them.
EMMC is funded primarily through donations from individuals, churches and other organizations. They receive grants from the United Way and others to fund operating costs. Some funds also come from a HUD grant for rapid re-housing, rent assistance and homelessness prevention.
Tammy also told me that homelessness impacts people with mental illness, individuals with drug addictions, domestic violence cases and the elderly. Tammy said, “For an elderly person, if their Social Security income is $700-800, and there isn’t low-income housing available, they can’t make it. Even if rent is on the low end for the county, around $600, it’s just too much.”
I asked Tammy about her biggest challenges. Her answer, mental health issues. “If you’re going to fight for something, a place for people with mental health issues is really needed. These folks need supervision, permanent supportive housing. Someone to make sure they take their medications, go to work because they just can’t manage on their own. They don’t have the capacity to deal with everyday life. They need a rent payee to ensure they make that rent payment.”
Currently there is no supportive housing for mental health in Bradford County. A network of agencies works together (EMMC, Human Services, Main Link, Futures, Abuse and Rape Crisis Center and the Area Agency of Aging) to meet the needs of the community with the resources they have. “People don’t think there’s a problem because we’re working 24-7 at it. Without the network, you would see it [homelessness] a lot more. If people saw it, they’d realize that most people don’t choose it.”
As a candidate for Congress, and as a Libertarian, I support initiatives like what Tammy and the rest of EMMC are doing for our community. This partnership of government and private organizations is filling a need in our community. While I like to see minimal government involvement, it is only by the tireless actions of individuals like Tammy Storrs that the resources of the government and community are used effectively. Together we can address the root causes of homelessness in our communities and support organizations like EMMC. Together we can bring real change
Please join me in recognizing the efforts of Tammy and the EMMC by visiting their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/endlessmountainmissioncenterbradfordcountypa. If you want to learn more about homelessness in our District and organizations working to address it, visit our website, http://lizterwilligerforcongress.org/index.php/issues/community-solutions.