Two local homeless shelters merge

Submitted photoPictured (Left to right) Simon Brain, Board President and Francesca Crane, Interim Executive Director, Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties, alongside Nate Hoffer, Executive Director and David Cagliola, Chairman of Good Samaritan Shelter at the announcement of the plans to merge the two organizations.
Submitted photoPictured (Left to right) Simon Brain, Board President and Francesca Crane, Interim Executive Director, Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties, alongside Nate Hoffer, Executive Director and David Cagliola, Chairman of Good Samaritan Shelter at the announcement of the plans to merge the two organizations.

Phoenixville>>Two established non-profits that serve the homeless population of Chester and Lancaster Counties announced a merger that uniquely positions the organizations to provide emergency shelter, rapid re-housing and permanent housing for homeless men, women and children. Good Samaritan Shelter, based in Phoenixville and Ephrata, and Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties, based in Coatesville and Lancaster, will combine to offer a range of progressive services that will make an even greater impact on ending homelessness. The merger is anticipated to become official later in the year.

Nate Hoffer, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Shelter said: “This partnership makes sense. For many years our organizations have worked together. Our missions are similar, our Christian foundations are similar, and the geography is similar. What has set us apart is the range of services we provide, so by combining forces we can become stronger in our efforts to eradicate homelessness.”

Good Samaritan Shelter was developed in 1999 through a collaborative effort of several Phoenixville area churches and other community supporters. Together, they sought a compassionate response to the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Good Samaritan now owns eight properties in Chester and Lancaster Counties, helping approximately 50 men, women and children a day and more than 150 residents a year. Good Samaritan Shelter also employs residents through its job program, the Nourish Mobile Market.For more information go to www.goodsamshelter.org.

Established 30 years ago, Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties was borne from a group of churches united by a deep sense of Christ’s call to compassion for homeless single mothers and their children. The Bridge of Hope ministry model is built on a three-way partnership between homeless families, trained church-based mentoring groups and professional social work and education staff. Last year, 61 homeless single mothers and 123 children were served, and 32 churches in Chester and Lancaster Counties provided mentoring groups. For more information go to www.lancasterchester.bridgeofhopeinc.org.

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Simon Brain, President of the Board of Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties commented: “Both of our organizations understand the differences and the needs of people experiencing homelessness in Chester County and in Lancaster County and we truly believe that we are better together – which in turn means that people experiencing homelessness are better served as a result of the partnership.”

In combining forces, Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties will increase its current level of services under the leadership of Good Samaritan Shelter. All four offices will remain: two in Chester County – Phoenixville and Coatesville; and two in Lancaster County – Ephrata and the City of Lancaster.

“As we come together in all four locations, we look forward to further developing our strengths, providing greater opportunities for our volunteers and donors, making more effective use of donor funds, and most importantly, offering hope, homes and hope, homes and eventually independence to those experiencing homelessness.” added Nate Hoffer.