PTN's Brianna Strunk highlights the four organizations receiving critical funding through the 2023 Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser, including Street2Feet.
Chris Crossan will never forget becoming homeless at age 51, living under a bridge then a tent in East Stroudsburg.
“It's rough, cold, and wet. This was my home for 30 days, I had six feet of space,” Chris explained while standing under the bridge.
Prior to 2021, Chris says life was good. He was a longtime chef living with his mom as her caretaker. Once she was diagnosed with dementia and moved into a facility, they had to sell their home to pay for her care. He said, “never in my life did I imagine I would be homeless."
Chris found Street2Feet in East Stroudsburg, the Poconos' only daytime resource center for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The newly renovated day center is a safe place to get out of the elements, take a shower, do laundry, and search for jobs and apartments. Case managers also help them obtain important documents such as a photo ID, social security card, and birth certificate.
“It's the entire reason we do this work, to help people get back on their feet, because we are all one major life event away from being in a similar situation,” said Leslie Perryman, director of RHD’s Street2Feet Outreach Center.
Clients can also receive same-day pay and get job experience by picking up trash in Monroe County through Pocono 3C. Since the program's inception in 2019, participants have collected more than 15,000 bags of litter.
“We've had so many people move forward to full-time jobs, become housed, and have been able to pay bills and fines. Pocono 3C helps them get back on their feet, hence our name,” Perryman explained.
After nine months of homelessness, Chris now lives in transitional housing and has a steady job back in the kitchen as a line chef at a Pocono resort. “I cook food for 500-700 people every night and I’m loving every minute of it,” he smiled.
Chris' mom recently passed away, but he knows she would be proud of his progress. No longer under the bridge, coming out on top. “The future looks bright right now,” he added.
With funding from the 20th annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser, Street2Feet will continue its mission of helping the homeless.