This Shelter is staffed 24 hours per day/365 days a year. Individuals and families with children are accepted any time; day or night depending upon the availability of space. All daily amenities are available and our staff makes every effort to provide individual clients with specific necessities including clothing, transportation and medicine on an as-needed basis. There is no fee for Shelter services. Most new arrivals have no income and do not receive food stamps. Our Shelter staff is able to refer disabled clients for entitlement benefits and assist those who are physically and emotionally capable to seek employment. Income from all sources is monitored in order to encourage the accumulation of funds needed to establish independent housing at the end of their shelter stay.
In addition to providing the basic necessities, Community Shelter Services contracts with qualified professionals who provide the group counseling, education and training needed to promote self-sufficiency. Clients attend classes regularly; with many of them receiving certificates for completion of training in areas such as: effective parenting, building self-esteem, anger management and building positive relationships. These experiences help build the skills needed to improve clients’ potential for independent housing and gainful employment thus reducing their dependence on charitable systems. Improved parenting skills will foster a more stable, functional family life-style that promotes the academic and social success necessary for lifelong success for today’s generation of homeless children. The positive impact of these training measures will be more apparent as time passes without future episodes of homelessness.
Lodge on Sass and Columbus Apartments SRO Housing
Community Shelter Services, Single Room Occupancy (SRO) components provide a total of 90 units of safe, decent, affordable and supportive housing for single adults at the Lodge on Sass, as well as Columbus Apartments. Residents have the benefit of a fully furnished, Section 8 subsidized room with basic household necessities within an environment that preserves their personal privacy.
Although residents are responsible for their own meals, a weekly “family style” meal is provided to promote socialization and to help stretch their food resources. In addition, an on-site pantry lends emergency assistance when food personal supplies are depleted each month.
The agency, through donations from the community, provides clothing and other necessities. Common kitchens and lounge areas are located on all floors at each of the SRO facilities and laundry facilities are available on-site.
Persons seeking to live in SRO housing are among the most seriously incapable of managing their livesbeyond meeting their most basic needs. We are continuing to seek funds to increase our compliment of staffing in order to more effectively equip ourselves to serve this very challenging special needs population. Since the inception of Columbus Apartments project in 1987, CSS has provided a viable housing option to homeless persons who here to fore have relied on the community’s network of emergency shelters to meet their housing needs.
The Jane Earll Family Apartments
This is our Extended Shelter Stay Program for families who are unable to secure independent housing at the end of their shelter stay. Families may stay in these units for an indefinite period of time or until they are able to secure housing within the community.
Each unit has two to three bedrooms, private living rooms and shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. Initially, this housing is free of charge however, once the family has been stabilized they are required to pay 30% of their income for rent.
Back to School Program
The Back to School program helps low-income children and their families provide the necessary items to help a child for the upcoming school year. The children need basics like uniforms, coats and shoes. They are also require school supplies such as three-ring binders, calculators and notebooks. The children depend on the generosity of the Erie community for these items in order to feel on-par with their peers.
If you would like to sponsor a child for the Back to School program, please call 453-4613.
Christmas Sponsorship Program
The annual Christmas sponsorship program is geared towards helping low-income children inthe Erie area have a good holiday season by asking the community to donate money, new clothing and toys. The children are referred from other nonprofit agencies, churches, and community centers.These children receive the basic necessities - like new shoes, winter coats and blankets. They also ask for one or two brand new toys to celebrate on Christmas Day.
If you would like to sponsor a child at Christmas time, please call 453-4613.
Community Shelter Services has started therapeutic recreation in the form of a weekly embroidery class. Those staying in the emergency shelter and residents in the single-room occupancies can enjoy the class taught by Executive Director, Kitty Cancilla. Kitty feels that these classes are needed to “help the homeless have a sense of something to be proud of. It also eases the stress of being homeless.” Mary Lincoln, a long-time donor at the agency, has stepped up by contributing funds to keep these classes in session, “It is an honor to give back to the community. The embroidery class is an enjoyable learning experience - something special to do. Donors can make a difference!” This contribution has made all the difference to Maryann Stachewicz, who has been eagerly taking the embroidery classes, “This is a really creative environment. I look forward to this class each week!” Pictured from left to right are Kitty Cancilla, Mary Lincoln and Maryann Stachewicz.
Please consider donating new shirts or blankets so the clients can embroider on them during classes.