YWCA Lancaster was established in 1889 to provide safe and affordable housing for women. The YW has steadily adapted its many services for women over the past 123 years to meet emerging community needs, but has continued to maintain its transitional housing program, the oldest and second largest in the county.
While many YWCAs have abandoned their residences, YWCA Lancaster has remained a beacon of hope for women who would otherwise be unable to find shelter for themselves and their children.
YWCA Lancaster is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women. The agency provides more than 10,000 Lancaster County residents with empowerment services that include housing for women and children going through troubled times; developmentally appropriate childcare for ages six weeks to 12 years; free counseling and support for victims of sexual assault/abuse; and youth services to prevent sexual violence.
The YWCA Residence provides Emergency Shelter for single women and women with children who find themselves abruptly out of a home and have nowhere to go. These rooms are limited and are available for up to 60 days.
Homeless Shelter for Women & Children
The Lancaster County Council of Churches holds their winter shelter for women and children at YWCA Lancaster, 110 North Lime St, Lancaster. The YWCA provides a warm and cozy place to sleep in the gymnasium overnight and offers showers and lockers. The shelter is staffed by Council volunteers who come from various churches throughout Lancaster County.
Previously, the Council of Churches held their shelter at its member churches, rotating to a new location every week. This proved to be confusing and sometimes dangerous for the women who often had to trek across town at night and in cold temperatures. By holding the shelter at YWCA Lancaster, the shelter is located at a central locating in the city and its consistency eliminates confusion.
The winter shelter is open seven days a week, 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m., from December through April. For more information contact the Council of Churches at 717-291-2261.
YWCA Lancaster offers affordable housing for low and moderate income single women and women with young children for one year during transitional periods in their lives. Case manager support is provided to residents to help them with finding permanent housing, employment and to obtain life skills.
Women who live at the residence oftentimes come from abusive relationships, can no longer afford their current housing due to loss in income or are transitioning from drug and alcohol treatment programs. The nurturing support provided by the Residence staff has helped many women to get back on their feet and to live fulfilling, independent lives.
Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and funding from local foundations and private donors, YWCA Lancaster now provides permanent and safe housing through Section 8 Housing for up to 12 women who come from homelessness.
In order to be eligible for permanent housing, women must be certified homeless by the City of Lancaster. The resident enters into a landlord/tenant agreement with YWCA Lancaster and pays a portion of her income for rent.
Unlike transitional housing there is no limit to the number of years she can stay. She can live here for as long as she likes as long as she follows the landlord/tenant agreement, stays current with rent and follows the rules of the Residence.
YWCA Lancaster no longer accepts direct applications for transitional housing. Please call 2-1-1 information hotline and ask for CHART services. CHART now takes applications for transitional housing in Lancaster County.