If you are experiencing homelessness and are from Lancaster County and need help, please call 2-1-1.
When a person experiencing homlessness comes to our Access Center and is seeking help, we connect them with a Case Manager and Social Worker who will talk with them to assess the next best step while with us. A Life Coach teams up with the person as an accountability partner in reaching goals. The individual then embarks on a personalized Shelter Track or Residential Track based on those goals.
Both tracks give access to all services at Water Street and with our community partners. We provide:
In addition to shelter and residential programs, Water Street provides weekly food distribution to families in need in our community, medical, behavioral health and dental services, and programming for young children (Wonder Club) and youth (Teen Haven).
Water Street is guided by the mission that Jesus declared in Luke chapter 4, quoting Isaiah 61. As Jesus declared, we strive to come alongside each individual to share hope and good news and to meet the needs of those experiencing some of the most difficult challenges of life including poverty and homelessness.
As we fulfill this mission inspired and guided by Christ, we remain committed to serving any individual in need without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
210 South Prince Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
To find out about intakes, please call 2-1-1, and they will help get you connected to the best resources.
Find out more about our community food bank, the Outreach Center, by clicking the link below.
Monday: 9:00am – Noon and 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am – Noon
Thursday: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: By appointment only
Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Friday: By appointment only
All clinic hours are subject to change.
Tuesday: 9:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Experiencing homelessness and need help? Dial 2-1-1 today.
For assistance, inquiries, or someone to talk through challenges with, please reach out to our team. We are always happy to help and provide next steps for you and your needs.
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.