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Housing

 

 

Emergency Shelter

 

 

Originally housed in church basements, the shelter (then called The Reading Emergency Shelter) first opened in November 1984 to provide a hot meal and safe place for the homeless to sleep. This was a community response to the fact that two homeless people died on the streets of Reading in the winters of 1981 and 1982. Today, the shelter provides an array of services to help homeless individuals and families become self-sufficient once more. We maintain our original mission as an emergency shelter by opening our doors from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for what is known as "Code Blue." This begins once the temperature drops below freezing and lasts roughly through the beginning of April, as long as it is warm enough outside.

 

The emergency shelter contains 75 beds, providing space for 40 men and 35 women and children. Last year, we served 457 people, with an average of 60 people in the shelter each night. Although there is not a required length of time that clients must stay, our most successful clients typically reside here between 30 and 120 days. In 2014, 13 out of 18 families (72%), 21 of 39 single women (53%), and 36 of 62 single men (56%) who engaged in our services for over 30 days successfully transitioned back into the community. Residents are expected to regularly meet with their case manager in order to develop a plan that will help them achieve this self-sufficiency.

Click here to read a profile on one of our clients and his experience at our shelter. 


Our emergency shelter service includes:

  • Case management services to assist with daily living activities 
  • Counseling to help clients set manageable goals
  • Assistance with resume writing and job interviewing skills
  • Mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments when needed (Limited assistance provided with job search)
  • Money management to help clients clear old debt, learn budgeting skills and prepare for independent living by saving a portion of their income
  • Around the clock childcare through the Second Street Learning Center to ensure that clients are able to work any shift
  • Aftercare is available for those who move back into the community and wish to receive continued assistance from their case manager

 

Supportive Housing

 

 

Our transitional housing program provides families with the opportunity to make a gradual transition back into the community. Those participating in this program have demonstrated the ability to make positive changes in their lives while engaged in shelter services, but are unable to maintain these changes once re-entering the community. On average, nine families comprised of 11 adults and 21 children participate in this program each month. The length of their stay ranges from 3 to 24 months depending on their needs. Once this program is successfully completed, families will either transition into our permanent housing program or move back into the community to live independently.

 

Our permanent housing program provides safe and affordable housing to formerly homeless individuals and families, including those with physical and/or mental disabilities. This program is comprised of a variety of apartments and townhouses located in close proximity to Opportunity House. On average, 38 adults and 23 children reside in our permanent housing program. 

 

In order to qualify for the supportive housing programs, individuals and families must have successfully completed the shelter program at Opportunity House. Those implementing these services must put 30% of their monthly income towards rent. Utilities such as gas, electric and water are included in this fee.

 Our supportive housing programs include:

  • Case management services to assist with daily living activities
  • Counseling to help clients set manageable goals
  • Assistance with resume writing and job interviewing skills
  • Mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments when needed (Limited assistance provided with job search)
  • Money management to help clients clear old debt, learn budgeting skills and prepare for independent living by saving a portion of their income
  • Around the clock childcare through the Second Street Learning Center to ensure that clients are able to work any shift
  • Aftercare is available for those who move back into the community and wish to receive continued assistance from their case manager

 

Contact  

Delia McLendon, VP of Shelter and Housing

       610-374-4696 ext. 230  

   Locate the Emergency Shelter & Supportive Housing
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Opportunity House

430 North 2nd Street
Reading, PA 19601

Phone: (610) 374.4696
Fax: (610) 374.3165

Email: info@opphouse.org

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