In the winter of 1983, members of the First Seventh-day Adventist Church of Coatesville met with the County of Chester Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) to verify the need for sheltering homeless men; and to plan for a solution related to homeless men in the City of Coatesville and surrounding areas. At the start, both homeless men and women were sheltered. Having sheltered men, women and families in the church for six years; the shelter was moved to its current location and governed by a newly formed non profit organization; the W.C. Atkinson Memorial Community Services Center, Inc. (AMSCI). The current shelter houses only homeless men and a collaborative effort has continued with the Chester County Department of Community Development (formerly OHCD), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, area churches of various faiths, individuals, and foundations that continue to partner in this endeavor since 1994. Additionally, AMSCI co-partnered with the Housing Development Corporation of Lancaster, PA to develop 18 apartments for persons with a low to moderate income. In 1995, AMSCI partnered with Brandywine Hospital to provide affordable health care. Also, community and supportive services were added to provide a holistic approach to community revitalization.
The Atkinson Health Center (1995 – 2007)
The Atkinson Health Center opened in 1995 and was operated, staffed and managed by the Brandywine Hospital. The space for the health center was provided free of charge to the hospital by Atkinson. The Center provided an array of health services to community members and extended its services to sheltered men that included annual physical exams and prostate cancer screening, annually. The Atkinson Health Center closed to help provide a patient base for the newly developed Chess Penn Health Clinic.