Megan Shreve, Executive Director of South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP), addressed the state of SCCAP and issues affecting the county in a recent presentation to the members of in a recent presentation to the members of the county’s advocacy group, Democracy for America.
Saying SCCAP’s condition is currently very, Shreve said financial stability has improved significantly in recent years, with stable funding for some programs and additional stability provided by the endowment funds received through the Giving Spree. Shreve said SCCAP has also developed a strong management team, relieving her of many duties that were piled on her desk until recently.
One challenge includes funding shortages for the Food Pantry. “We receive less funding and are serving more people,” said Shreve.
Despite an unprecedented housing construction boom, affordable housing isn’t being built in any quantity, leading Adams County to face a chronic shortage of affordable housing. Adams County’s rental vacancy rate is very low, rental property is very expensive, and many simply cannot find shelter. “We don’t have many Section 8 vouchers compared to the need but even many of those vouchers don’t get used because the patron can’t find housing,” said Shreve.
The housing shortage has widespread effects. For example, stays at the Homeless Shelter become longer because residents can’t find housing. It also affects the county’s ability to attract new employers. “Employers want to know that their employees will be able to find housing at an affordable price,” said Shreve.
Shreve agreed that as Gettysburg College moves more students into college housing more property could come back onto the rental market, which could ease the rental situation. “We plan to talk to some of those landlords to see if they’ll accept vouchers,” said Shreve.
One problem facing some county residents is that as pandemic-related benefits phase out, more signs of poverty, such as homeless shelter and food pantry usage, and renters falling behind on rent, are beginning to crop up. The extraordinary sums made available for rental assistance were an outstanding success but are phasing out. While many tenants and landlords have been assisted by the program, it is possible there will be an increase in evictions.
SCCAP also administers the @Home Coalition, which brings together local government organizations, nonprofits, and citizens to discuss solutions to affordable housing, workforce, and transportation. A particular concern is ridership on the Adams County-Hanover Connector. This outstanding service was started by Rabbit Transit largely as a result of advocacy by @ Home. While its users are enthusiastic about the service, ridership has not been adequate to sustain the service once the trial period is completed.
Leon Reed, freelance reporter, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.