Who/what: The Community Intervention Center has served the greater Scranton community through a wide range of programs for nearly 50 years.
Originally called the Rap House, the center is open daily (including major holidays) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 445 N. Sixth Ave., Scranton, and serves as a “drop-in facility that serves the most marginalized individuals in our community,” explained Deputy Director Michelle Matyjevich.
The center offers a free day shelter for the area’s homeless population. There, Matyjevich said, people can shower; grab a meal; do laundry; have phone and address privileges; and find information, referrals, wellness and holistic activities, groups, support and contact with the community. Anyone 18 and older can use the services, and they do not need to have insurance.
Additionally, the center has three supportive housing programs funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a “safe haven” housing programs separate from its main building. Weekly, it also hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, smart recovery groups, meditation groups and manicures, and a chiropractor visits monthly.
“Drug and alcohol addiction is not a choice. Mental health is not a choice,” Matyjevich said. “The Community Intervention Center accepts people who have nowhere else to turn and, far too often, no family left to rely on. We are not here to judge or give a ‘free pass’ to anyone. We are here to help people learn how to stand on their own two feet. And people need to have faith and confidence in themselves to do that.”
The center continued operating throughout the pandemic, although it did need to temporarily limit services to just homeless people early on to keep people appropriately distanced from one another. Services soon returned to normal, though, and grants and community donations helped the center buy personal protection equipment, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, and other items. It also hosted three vaccine clinics, and Matyjevich said the majority of its clients are fully vaccinated.
“We never once closed our doors to those most in need in our community and were one of the only agencies that maintained face-to-face contact with our clients every single day,” she said. “We were able to continue services through the entire pandemic thanks to the help and support of the community.”
Why: The center needs community support to continue helping the region’s most vulnerable residents, however. Matyjevich pointed to COLTS bus passes, small gift cards to places such as Sheetz and Redners, and monetary donations as its biggest current needs.
How: People can drop off donations at the center during its regular business hours; mail them to 445 N. Sixth Ave., Scranton, PA 18503; or visit communityinterventioncenter.org to pay via Paypal.
In her own words: “Support and donations made to the agency means that we get to continue helping those most in need in our community with the little things that no one else can help with. It may be a $2 co-payment on a psych medication or a bus pass to go to that job interview. It may also be helping to buy something small for the new room they just got or a sandwich from Sheetz for someone who has not had a meal all day. But more importantly, the support of the community gives our clients a reason to believe in themselves. When they see that the community and the members of the community have faith and believe in them, it is easier for them to have faith and believe in themselves.” — Michelle Matyjevich, deputy director
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest