By Walter Brasch
Spectrum Features Syndicate
SUGAR NOTCH, Pa.--A regional advocate for the rights of the homeless says actions by Sugar Notch officials to deny shelter to homeless men may be based upon fear and a lack of knowledge.
About 40 homeless men were scheduled to receive temporary shelter at the Holy Family Roman Catholic church in Sugar Notch for a week beginning Jan. 11. About three dozen churches in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region each shelter the homeless for one or two weeks a year. Professional staff usually work with, and stay with, the homeless. However, borough zoning officer Carl Alber, apparently acting under Council direction, issued a letter that threatened the church with a $500 fine for each day it housed the homeless. Councilman Herman Balas, a member of the church, said that Council was acting for safety and citizen welfare. The Rev. Joseph Kakareska told the media he has no plans to deny shelter to the homeless for the week. Sugar Notch is a town of about 950 residents, about five miles southwest of Wilkes-Barre in northeastern Pennsylvania.