Op/Ed: We can end homeless in Chester County

By Michael HackmanAdministrator, Decade To Doorways


Despite Chester County’s wealth about 700 county residents will spend the holidays homeless in the county.

During this holiday season many of us will gather with family and friends in warm, safe surroundings to celebrate time honored traditions and the joy of good fortune. For some Chester County residents however, holiday celebrations will be confined to a homeless shelter, a car, or a tent in the woods.

On any given day in Chester County close to 700 men, women and children experience homelessness, and hundreds more are one crisis away from becoming homeless. In 2013, 942 Chester County residents spent at least one night in an emergency shelter; 25 percent of those people were children.

Another 791 people received emergency financial assistance to prevent them from losing their homes. Many suffer from mental illness, substance abuse or domestic violence, but most simply cannot afford a place to live. All are living in poverty, fear and social despair.

The good news is that Chester County has a community-owned and community-driven plan to combat homelessness.   Decade to Doorways is a ten year initiative created to identify and manage homeless resources in the most efficient way possible; bringing together community shelters and non profits that assist people in need, funders, government and concerned citizens in partnership to end the plight of homelessness. Our community has come together to meet this challenge, but we still have a long road ahead to fully eradicate homelessness in Chester County.

What can the average Chester County resident do to be part of the solution to ending homelessness?  Actually, a lot:

Educate yourself about the root causes of homelessness and share with others about what you have learned.

Understand that individuals experiencing homelessness are not simply homeless but are grappling with a host of issues that lead to homelessness.

Contact your state and federal elected officials to advocate for increased funding for homeless services.

Refer those in need to local organizations and support resources.

Donate your time. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food cupboard.

Make a Contribution by visiting DecadeToDoorways.org/donate.

To learn more about the face of homelessness in Chester County, in the state and the nation, visit the following websites




Together we can end homelessness in Chester County.

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