Lancaster’s Water Street Rescue Mission announces plans for $1.2 million upgrade to homeless shelter

The Water Street Rescue Mission in Lancaster is shown in a 2015 file photo. (FOX43)

LANCASTER — The Water Street Rescue Mission announced plans Wednesday for a $1.2 million renovation of a 9,000-square-foot former warehouse space on its grounds to provide space for an improved, two-room overnight emergency homeless shelter at the South Prince Street facility.

The two-room, 9,000-square-foot renovation will replace the current, 3,000-square-foot shelter, and will increase the amount of available bunk beds to 80. The warehousing area was formerly used for furniture donations, the Mission said.

The Mission’s announcement said the new space will provide:

  • a safe space where individuals can stabilize from seasons of trauma and despair
  • fewer bunk beds with single beds to reduce crowding and improve personal space
  • increased bathroom space and personal showers
  • indoor storage of belongings
  • better laundry facilities
  • an “insomnia room”

“Over the last four years, we’ve made a concerted effort to transform our facilities to reflect our standards of providing an environment of love, value and dignity for our Mission guests,” Water Street Rescue Mission president Jack Crowley said in a press release announcing the project. “We are very excited for the improvements that we’re making. Our emergency shelter, like our dining hall, so often become the bridge from meeting a guest’s immediate needs to their decision to invest themselves fully in the process of restoration through the programs we offer at Water Street. These renovations aren’t intended to increased capacity, but rather focus on improvements in the care we can provide.”

The emergency shelter renovation project has already received $850,000 in committed funds from the Mission’s financial supporters, the announcement said. Work on the project will begin in May, and will be completed by the fall.

“The changes being made at Water Street’s emergency shelter demonstrate the compassionate care they provide for our community,” said Jen Koppel, executive director of the Lancaster Coalition to End Homelessness said in the release. “Individuals experiencing homelessness have a right to be treated with dignity and value. The renovations represent those values in action and the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness is grateful for the strong partnership with Water Street in developing this space.”

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