The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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November 4, 2013

Walk focuses attention on homelessness

SHARON — Sharon resident Catherine Clarke looks like a normal 29-year-old mother.

She has three children, one of whom lives with her, and she’s doing her best to make ends meet.

But not so long ago Clarke was homeless.

“It was a pretty scary experience,” she said.

During the late summer of 2011, Clarke found herself homeless and in need of help.

The Prince of Peace Center’s Project Ruth program for women like her gave her that help, along with some hope for the future.

“They got me where I needed to be,” she said.

Two years later, Clarke is working and has an apartment of her own.

Raising awareness that there are more people like Clarke than folks are willing to admit was the aim of a homeless awareness walk Sunday in downtown Sharon.

“If someone doesn’t stand up to be a voice for them, then who will?” Kelvin Jordan asked.

Jordan was one of about 100 people who participated in the walk.

He’s president of Penn State Shenango’s Human Development/Family Studies Club and was one of several college students who came out to the walk.

“It’s a much-needed event,” Jordan said.

Fraternity brothers from Thiel College in Greenville and Slippery Rock University also took part.

“We like to help as much as we can,” said Zach Kubec, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Thiel chapter.

The walk was sponsored by the Mercer County Housing Coalition, said Natalie Higbee, the Prince of Peace Center’s director of family support services.

It’s been held for six years to speak up for the issue, which is a problem in Mercer County.

About 500 people are homeless for a time each year here, Higbee said, basing her number on records from social service agencies that try to help those people.

“Our biggest mission is raising awareness,” she said. “We do have homeless.”

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