Safe Harbor of Chester County is a homeless shelter located on Matlack Street in West Chester.

According to its website, “Safe Harbor’s goal reaches beyond just feeding the homeless and providing shelter. We seek to understand each person’s background, define short-term action plans designed to address their problems and needs, and monitor their progress.”

Safe Harbor’s goal, as stated on its website, is to “help rebuild lives and life skills, reestablish self-esteem, and help people overcome the issues that prevent them from leading independent, productive lives.”

As a volunteer at Safe Harbor, one could prepare or serve a meal, schedule an activity for game night, organize a drive, and more.

People living at Safe Harbor must be a Chester County resident. They call ConnectPoints, the referral service that keeps track of available beds at shelters in the county. An assessment is then done.

“I call Safe Harbor a low demand shelter, because we don’t turn anyone away,” said Alicia Anderson, Program Director.

According to its website, Safe Harbor supports 20 men and 20 women.

“Our women’s program opened on March 13, 2010 in a rainstorm that was the worst of the year. However, they were very thankful and full of joy to see their new home,” the website states.

The shelter is set up like a dormitory with separate bathrooms, shower, washers, driers, and more.

Men and women in the shelter are also provided with free clothing to “maintain or even regain their self-esteem,” the website states.

The target date at Safe Harbor is 120 days, but sometimes people are residents for even longer.

Safe Harbor encourages students to get involved as volunteers.

If students want to complete service projects at their meetings to benefit Safe Harbor, they can contact Karen Manzone, the Volunteer Coordinator, at Karen@safeharborofgwc.org.

To make donations, one can look for a list of needed supplies at safeharborofgwc.org.

“I believe the students of West Chester University should volunteer at Safe Harbor because I feel the students should know about the issues that are plaguing our community and what Safe Harbor is doing to address these issues,” said Anderson.

Safe Harbor also is a part of West Chester County’s Decade to Doorways program. This is Chester County’s ten year plan to prevent and end homelessness.

“This plan is a true partnership of government, businesses, faith-based, private foundations and non-project communities,” said Anderson.

Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu.

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