Home Underwear 7 Ways To Help The Homeless In Lancaster County [United Way column] | Together

7 Ways To Help The Homeless In Lancaster County [United Way column] | Together

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7 Ways To Help The Homeless In Lancaster County [United Way column] |  Together


If you lost your home due to a mixture of unfortunate circumstances, where would you go? Would you consider yourself homeless if you moved into your adult child’s spare bedroom? Would you feel the same if you had to move into a motel because you don’t have relatives in the area and your job isn’t far away? What if you couldn’t afford more than a week’s stay and got to the point of running out of places to sleep and shower? Would you then consider yourself homeless?

Academic definitions aside, one of the main causes of homelessness is the deterioration of housing affordability. Rentdata.org has rated the Lancaster Metropolitan Statistical Area as “moderately expensive” with rents above the national average. Lancaster fair market rent prices ($ 1,283 for a two to three bedroom apartment) are more expensive than 86% in the state. That rent requires a salary of $ 46,654 – if you want to stick to budgeting tools that recommend spending no more than a third of your income on housing. But sometimes, despite the best of intentions, bad things happen. Homelessness is one of them.

Fortunately Lancaster County has a well-established year-round support system for people who are literally homeless, and it gets carried away once the winter temperatures roll in. We invite you to consider that “volunteering” can include the act of buying and delivering needed items to those living in temporary shelters – on the way home.

– Lancaster Food Hub operates the Welcome Place Shelter and Drop-In Center in the town of Lancaster. The shelter operates from 8 pm to 8 am, the day center operates from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm Interested in volunteering? Contact Alex at

[email protected] or call 717-291-226. They also collect new items of socks, underwear and gloves for men and women.

– Columbia Shelter serves the Columbia region with an overnight shelter and day center open year round. Interested in volunteering? Contact Regina at 717-693-6208 or email [email protected] They also collect new items of socks, underwear, sweatpants and sweatshirts for adult men and women. Donations can be dropped off at 291 S. Fourth St., Columbia.

—Elizabethtown Emergency Shelter serves the Elizabethtown / Mount Joy area from 6:30 pm to 8 am beginning December 6 and is looking for volunteers to host, serve lunch or breakfast and stay overnight. Contact Theresa at [email protected] or visit ECHOSLancaster.org.

– The Good Samaritan Winter Program serves the community of Ephrata from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting December 1. Accept donations of packaged breakfast food, granola bars and individual drinks. Drop off at 25 W. Locust St. Interested in volunteering? Contact Janessacgoodsam

services.org or call 717-733-3395.

– Water Street Mission operates a year-round refuge and day center. Volunteers can preview opportunities at wsm.org/make-an-impact/volunteer-with-us for individual and group opportunities.

– The Transitional Living Center and the YWCA, both located in the town of Lancaster, also offer housing solutions for individuals and families. For more information visit ten

fold.org or ywcalancaster.org.

– Lanc Co MyHome (Lancaster County Homeless Coalition) announced its new mobile hygiene unit with free showers and medical assistance which will be housed in Lancaster, Ephrata, New Holland and Elizabethtown. The mobile unit, Refresh Lancaster, needs donations of all sizes of new underwear, socks and sports bras. Donations are collected at the United Way office at 1910 Harrington Drive, Lancaster from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To find other opportunities, visit uwlenc.org/volunteer. Volunteer Coordinators, please email your current and upcoming needs to [email protected]

Cindi Moses is Executive Vice President of United Way of Lancaster County.