Health Services

Providing medical, dental, and behavioral health services to our most at-risk neighbors.

Individualized Care

Our Approach

Water Street Health Services offers the working poor and people experiencing homelessness in Lancaster County free medical, dental, and behavioral health services. Each day our team works to create individualized solutions that will have a lasting impact on our patients health, ultimately giving patients the tools they need to pursue their life goals.

To ensure those who are most at need are able to get critical care, we serve those at 100% or 200% of the poverty level. We want those who are most vulnerable to find hope for a healthy future and support in conquering each health battle, no matter how large or small.

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Medical Services

Quality over Quantity

In our health facilities, doctors and nurses get to spend as much time with a patient as they need, as many of our patients have gone years without any medical help. We also aim to educate so that we can create sustainable solutions to their health issues, not just a cycle of treatment.  The goal is not just lots of appointments but meaningful and long-lasting improvements to physical health and overall wellbeing.

Behavioral Health Services

Creating Lasting Mental Health Solutions

Behavioral health is key to giving patients the tools they need to be set on a path of hope, with greater confidence, and the ability to overcome obstacles in their lives. Our team of professional behavioral health specialists, including partners from PhilHaven, meet one-on-one with guests, and also teach courses on wellness for long term mental health management.

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Dental Services

Renewing Smiles

Part of Water Street Health Services, our dental clinic is where our patients experiencing homelessness, as well as low-income members of the community, come to undergo dental restorations, helping to renew their smiles, confidence, and overall health. Patients also receive teaching and supplies to help them maintain dental hygiene between visits.

“They helped me turn my life around. And the support you get from staff is just unbelievable. They love you with open arms and they’re straightforward and upfront and tell you how it is.”
Gary, Health Services Patient

Stories of Lives Changed through Heath Services

Experiencing Renewal

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The Renewal of Louisa

Louisa came to Water Street after a tragedy in her life left her without a place to live. She was paired with a Life Coach and a Case Manager, and the three worked as a team to discover a few key medical needs in Louisa’s life. She gained free access to doctors, nurses, dental hygienists and behavioral health specialists to help manage her depression, diabetes and oral health. Her medical visits were more than she expected. “You could have the greatest doctors in the world, but because everything is so professional they can’t go beyond it [and pray with a patient].

“When you are going through something, you need the spiritual,” said Louisa as she credits praying with the medical, dental and behavioral healthcare staff at Water Street to her progress.

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The Renewal of a Couple

Kim and Mark came to Water Street as a last option. Medical challenges and lost wages caused the married couple to lose their home. “When we came to Water Street I was embarrassed,” explained Mark. “I felt hopeless.”

“Our lives felt like scrambled eggs. Everything was out of control,” describes Kim. The medical staff and volunteers at Water Street Health Services provided the quality care needed to enable physical and mental healing. The couple was connected to one of the Mission’s partners, Tabor Community Services, and walked through the steps of the Rapid Re-Housing Program.

Today Mark and Kim are settled in their new home, and hope to one day pay it forward to others who find themselves in a similar season of homelessness.

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The Renewal of Deborah

Deborah arrived at Water Street after a long battle with depression. “I found that I was just not myself anymore. My pride kept me from admitting that I needed help,” she said. After taking a cocktail of prescription drugs in an attempt to end her life, Deborah woke up in a hospital bed a week later. She realized her life wasn’t meant to end. With nowhere else to go, she took a cab to Water Street Mission.

Deborah received dental, medical, and behavioral health care while at Water Street. She was able to become physically and spiritually well—and because of her renewal she was able to move into her own apartment and got connected with a local church where she volunteers regularly. Life is meant to be lived, and Deborah is living it!

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The Renewal of Sheila

After spending most of her life working as a care taker for the developmentally disabled, straining to lift residents took its toll on Sheila. That’s when a major injury led her down the road to opioid addiction.

But even while conquering addiction, chronic pain left Sheila barely walking by the time she came to Water Street Health Services. At Water Street, doctors quickly helped Sheila more safely manage her pain and find the source of her injury, finally receiving a much needed hip replacement. 

“Now I can get around, and I don’t want to seek anything else, I want to be clean” she says.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Support our guests.

Water Street Mission has helped provide more than 6,035 medical and dental visions and has facilitated over 280 smile repairs. 

Be a part of the rescue and renewal happening every day. Become a volunteer.

An Update from Jack 5/4/2020

12/17/2020

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

President