"Why would anybody want to go the YMCA?" he asked. "I don't want to talk about those other programs in terms of what they don't have. But none of the other ones have much more than we do. I wish there was a better place."

"We are trying to close Safe Haven, but it's open all day long because there's no place for people to go." He said it will remain open as long one person needs shelter.

Baumann said Safe Haven does not open or close based on a Code Blue cold weather warning, saying "that would be way too complicated." He said it is open from the end of November until the end of March.

The pastor said he looks forward to a real shelter for the homeless being created in Allentown. He told council: "We need to work for something better."

Dale Smith, a homeless advocate who serves on the local Commission to End Chronic Homelessness, told council that homeless people are living in the woods, on the streets, in dumpsters and in their cars.


Jennings reviewed CACLV's programs to help the poor and homeless, but said that assistance doesn't come close to solving what he described as a massive problem.

He also said there isn't any money to address such issues. "It's amazing that the existing homeless shelters are still in business."

Jennings said 2,500 homeless people were sheltered in Lehigh Valley last year, adding 35 to 40 percent of them were kids.

Jennings warned council a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to homeless shelters. For example, he said children should not stay in the same place as someone who just got out of prison and still has drug or alcohol problems.

Jennings also warned: "You can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves."

He said 60 percent of homeless shelter beds in the Lehigh Valley are in Allentown.