Restarting On A Better Track

This wasn’t how Emily had envisioned her life. She was stuck in a cycle of moving around with her boyfriend and longed for stability. She was preparing to find a place of her own and restart her life when she discovered she was pregnant. Emily found herself reliant on her boyfriend and his mom for housing, but with the frequent moving, she decided to try living with her dad in Virginia for a while.

Missing her family and Lancaster community, Emily and her daughter, Jayrianna, returned to the area, but were unable to find a place to stay. They had nowhere to go so she turned to Water Street Mission.

While at the Mission, Emily began to feel hope that her dream of a stable life for herself and Jayrianna could really be possible. She felt her determination grow as she began to see what her life could truly be like.

“While at the Mission, Emily began to feel hope that her dream of a stable life for herself and Jayrianna could really be possible.”

Working with her life coach, she set goals for herself, created an action plan and took advantage of everything that Water Street had to offer – including getting plugged into Bridge of Hope, an organization that helps single moms secure stable housing and connects them to local church communities. Because of this, Emily and Jayrianna were able to move into a new, stable housing situation at the beginning of December.
Knowing that mothering a one year old by yourself can be stressful, Emily is reaching out to a local church that she found through Bridge of Hope. Through this community, she will be able to receive the parenting guidance and support that she needs.

Emily is grateful for the opportunity that Water Street provided for her to get on a better path for her daughter and herself. Her advice to those who are just starting their restoration journey at the Mission? “Do your action plan. Take advantage of all that’s available.”

Next on Emily’s goal list is to go back to school to be trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant, then possibly pursue a further degree.

For now, she’s enjoying her new home … one that’s big enough to have family over. She’s also happy that Jayrianna has her own room.

We don’t know what the future holds for Emily, but we pray that she is able to stay on track and we’re thankful for our donors and volunteers at Water Street who make life changes like this possible through their ongoing support.


An Update from Jack 5/4/2020


Dear Friends,

Throughout this season, we have encountered a number of challenges in operating our shelter safely. Thankfully we have been blessed to see no community spread among our guests. This is due not only to the work of our team, but also the ways that upgrades to our facilities came at just the right time.

For example, Providence Shelter, which opened in November 2019, provides additional spacing and a top-tier air filtration system. We have also been able to implement the same air filtration standards in our dining hall prior to the most recent wave of COVID.

Because a high percentage of our guests have preexisting health conditions, we have had to be diligent in our safety protocols, doing our best to ensure their safety. For us that has included implanting all CDC disinfecting, masking and social distancing from the very beginning. This has led to major changes in roles and responsibilities of staff. Staff have taken over disinfecting in shifts all over campus. They have also delivered much of our support services and programs through zoom, hosting counseling sessions and classes virtually and meeting in-person with plexi-glass dividers only when necessary.

For meals, we’ve changed preparation and delivery to help minimize interaction of guests who live in different facilities. At times that has meant delivering meals to certain Residential Floors so we can keep smaller groups in the dining hall. We have also had to restrict guests’ travel on and off campus to only essential trips such as going to work, the doctors, shopping etc., in order to minimize unnecessary exposure.

Another change in this season has been how we do intakes. Currently, the intake process requires new guests to be tested for COVID-19. They await their test results in a separate temporary shelter we have set up, before entering Providence Emergency Shelter.

All of these changes have been made while severely limiting the number of volunteers on campus. At one point, all volunteering was completely put on hold. Now, we are running with a third of our normal volunteers.

And it’s been tiring, for both staff and guests. We have had times where many staff were working remotely due to their own health risks. Other times where staff or guests have been quarantined due to exposures. But even with all of the schedule changes, increased overtime, and cross-shift working, our team has done an amazing job persevering through all of the challenges.

What to Expect This Winter Typically we have over 200 total guests on campus, over 100 in our Residential Programs over and 100 in our Emergency Shelters. Although our Residential capacity remains about the same, we have had to reduce the available beds in Providence Shelter to ensure safe spacing overnight from about 75 to 55.

Winter always presents its own challenges, so we anticipate this year will be no different. Women in our Providence Shelter have moved over to the shelter at St. Mary’s across the street, run by the Lancaster Food Hub. During their stay there they have full access to all of our services, including showers, food and staff support. Not only does having women shift to St. Mary’s enable us to free up additional beds for men, it will help us keep the shelter populations separate and limit the risk of spread.

Thank You We have been so encouraged by the support we have received this year. Without a community coming around us and our guests, we would not be able to keep our guests safe and continue to guide them in their restoration journeys. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you.

Jack Crowley