Franklin County homeless shelter to close because of bedbug infestation

January 05, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Franklin County (Pa.) Shelter for the Homeless will close temporarily starting Saturday to address an infestation of bedbugs.

The shelter is owned and operated by South Central Community Action Programs Inc. The Franklin County Commissioners have at times financially supported the shelter, most recently with $13,000 a year from state homelessness assistance funds.

South Central Community Action Programs Executive Director Megan Shreve said Wednesday the homeless shelter staff started dealing with bedbugs last summer. They brought in exterminators regularly and focused on specific rooms after families moved out.

“It hasn’t been successful,” Shreve said. “It’s getting worse, and we don’t want the families in that situation.”

Staff worked with residents of the shelter to find alternate accommodations so that the facility could close for about two weeks. Everyone except for two adults found places to stay, and those two adults will be transferred to the Chambersburg Cold Weather Drop-in Shelter, Shreve said.

The year-round shelter that welcomes people of all ages is in the 200 block of South Main Street.

“We only had eight (people) because we had been reducing the numbers to treat the rooms. ... Families (in the shelter) have been working with us and have been so gracious,” she said.

The shelter will be disposing of furniture and replacing wooden beds with ones that have metal frames, Shreve said.

“We just appreciate people’s understanding and support,” she said.

“Bedbugs are a real problem with the transient population,” said Richard Wynn, human services administrator for the county.

Some of the Housing and Urban Development apartments have had bedbug infestations requiring expensive and lengthy fumigation, he said.

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