2020 was the 25th anniversary of Safe Harbor opening in its permanent location at 20 N. Matlack St. West Chester, PA. Now, as we look to the future we still want to reflect on our history and share our story.
In 1992 a task force was created by local politicians and community members to help our neighbors experiencing homeless and Safe Harbor was born. For the next few years Safe Harbor existed in the form of a traveling shelter with space provided in 30-day increments by local faith-based organizations. Then, in December 1995, Safe Harbor opened its doors at its current physical location as a “low-demand” shelter. No one needing help would be turned away, as long as space was available and they could exist in a congregate living environment. There were 20 beds for men and 4 beds for women. A Community Lunch program was added for the food insecure of the area.
In 2007, the Chester County Single Homeless Women’s Task Force was created because there had been a steadily rising need to provide services to single women experiencing homeless in our community. Safe Harbor had remained the only option for such women and still only had 4 beds available. So, we were approached and ultimately agreed to take on a major expansion to add more capacity for this vulnerable group. In March of 2010, a renovated two-story building was unveiled and within a few weeks, a total of 20 women and 20 men were staying at the shelter.
For more than 25 years the mission of Safe Harbor has been to provide emergency housing, food, and access to support services. We have adjusted our program to continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us, including remaining open through the entire COVID-19 pandemic. Completely privately funded, we are able to continue this mission only because of your support. Please consider donating today!
Safe Harbor’s goals reach beyond just providing emergency shelter and services for adults experiencing homelessness. We seek to understand each person’s background, create short term action plans to address his or her challenges and needs, monitor progress and add guidance. We strive to rebuild lives, teach daily living skills, reestablish self-esteem and offer hope. We want those we serve to be able to do things now that were impossible before and overcome the issues that prevented them from leading independent, productive lives.
$1 million annually
Faith Communities 6%
Corporate & United Ways 16%
Grants & Foundations 27%
Fundraising Events 19%
8 Board members
16 staff members including the Chief Executive Officer