The Erie City Mission, well known for its programs helping men, is about to open a women's shelter. The mission did have a shelter for women for a brief time in its 100 year history, but according to Executive Director Rick Crocker, it closed in the late 1980's.
It's called Grace House, and it's actually two houses here at the corner of West 5th and Cascade Street. The city mission acquired the property from another non-profit called "My Father's House" and volunteers have been working to transform the property since last October.
In fact, workers are still on the job transforming one house into a homey shelter for up to 16 women, and the other house into a kitchen, classroom and program space.
Grace House will be just for single women working to get their lives back on track from substance abuse, poverty or other difficulties.
RoseMarie Lackey, Director of Women's Ministries for Erie City Mission said, "Our prayer is to offer hope to women who might be dealing with drug or alcohol addiction poverty or domestic violence or abuse. The first thing is to provide a save place to stay and to help get them back to restoration and self sufficiency as well."
"We believe we will provide in a way that will help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness for the women who in enroll in the program," said Rick Crocker.
And there is interest in the program. The Erie City Mission is getting calls everyday from women interested in Grace House.
They'll start taking referrals April 10, and open with the first 4 residents on April 17.
Grace House will hold open houses in the coming days for volunteers and people interested in offering financial support to the project. They plan a public open house and dedication on May 18.
Grace House will need essentials on a regular basis, from pasta, cereal and fresh fruits to paper and hygiene products. You can also donate gift cards to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Giant Eagle, Wegman's Amazon, Hobby Lobby or Michaels. Donations can be brought to the Erie City Mission 1017 French Street between 8:30 AM AND 4:30 PM. Please specify if the items are for Grace House.