We provide marginalized members of our
community, those experiencing homelessness
or poverty, with the tools they need to build a hope-filled future.
What starts with a meal and a safe place to sleep draws guests of Providence Emergency Shelter into deeper community, helping connect guests to life-changing services that will help them through their time of homelessness.
Guests who choose to enter into a deeper restorative process begin in our Residential Program. Here each guest receives individualized counseling and coaching, and a unique action plan and course load, all serving to help them reimagine and redefine their future.
Through our medical, dental, and behavioral health counseling practices we give patients the tools they need to overcome major health obstacles and pursue their life goals.
Through Wonder Club Early Learning Center we provide a safe place for children to grow, learn and play, building a firm foundation for their future.
In the Outreach Center, our community food bank, we provide weekly groceries to thousands of members of our community, helping families bridge the gap between living expenses and paying rent.
In a foundational time of life, Teen Haven sets Middle School and High School students on a path of restoration so their identity is based not in what the world says of them, but on God’s love. This firm foundation carries teens through the ups and downs of life, and into roles of leadership and purpose in our community.
Early intervention through Pre-K and Kindergarten classes meet kids at a critical time when students’ first interact with education and, in many cases, first learn of Jesus’s love for them. We invest in early childhood education, particularly for low-income families, to give kids the best start in life.
Through our Teen mentoring program, middle school and high school boys and girls find a safe haven, where they can have fun and build relationships through creative activities. Our teens learn about their incredible God-given worth and uniqueness through weekly bible studies and worship.
We serve over 400 meals a day. Not to mention providing groceries to thousands of individuals in our community a month. And its through the hard work of staff and volunteers that we reach vulnerable members of our community. You can get a first-hand experience of our food services and a glimpse into how we create a healing environment through volunteering.
We accept food and everyday essentials at our main campus dock. CommunityAid accepts all clothing donations on our behalf. To find more information on suggested donation items visit our Donate Goods page.
Call 2-1-1 to get connected to resources in our community, including Water Street.
Create an account in our Volunteer Hub to find available hours and ways to get involved volunteering. More information is available if you visit our Volunteer page.
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.