The Long Road Home From Shelter to Permanent Housing
Shelter for Homeless Men
The 22 bed emergency-temporary shelter is the entry level of a progressive program to address the root causes of homelessness that lead men to our doors. The emergency shelter is a source of food, shelter, referral and supportive services for those who have lost most or all of their support systems. More than 200 men are sheltered annually. The shelter provides a non-threatening environment where residents may stabilize their circumstances; and discover the various support systems available and then begin to access those services within the community. Most men stay an average of 5-6 months. The residents are provided an address and telephone number, and a stable and caring environment which enhances their ability to gain employment. This process begins with a referral from Connect Points, a homeless service hotline and a component of Decade to Doorways, the community plan to prevent and end homelessness in Chester County within ten years. Once a resident enters the Atkinson Shelter, he is provided with on-site case management (including, but not limited to, individual goal setting). Case management is loosely defined as participation in any structured environment that addresses the causative factors of the individual’s homelessness. In addition to on-site case management, the residents sometime receive case management services from the VAMC treatment programs, Gaudenzia outpatient program, Human Services, Inc., and ChesPenn Health Center. Area Churches are a vital part of homeless recovery. Beyond the wonderful meals provided by churches, they often mentor and encourage the men during meal time, also providing clothing or linens on occasion. Located on Diamond Street, the shelter is accessed through Connect Points, a homeless referral service—800-935-3181. The men most often remain beyond the 30 day emergency stay as they continue toward self-reliance. It is rewarding to see their progress. Historically, men find jobs (if even part-time) as their self esteem builds, they may go into treatment for addictions, or return to family. Many find their own housing and begin the long journey back to total wellness.