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Providing Emergency Shelter

In the winter of 1981, a man living on the streets of Reading perished in the cold. The next winter, it happened again. In 1983, as cold weather approached, local churches sheltered men with nowhere to go in a desperate bid to save lives. By November 1984, the Reading Emergency Shelter at opened its doors to homeless men—just in time for winter.

Today, Opportunity House,  provides an array of services to help the most vulnerable in our community.  Our emergency shelter operates year-round and serves men, women, children, and veterans who are homeless, living on the streets, in abandon buildings, or in cars. We are located at 430 North Second Street in Reading, Pennsylvania.  Our doors are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help those in need.  Each year we serve approximately 500 men, women, and children who need a safe place to stay.

Successful clients stay at the shelter for approximately 30-60 days and meet regularly with their case managers to rebuild purposeful, self-sufficient lives.  Our goal is to give them the tools they need to maintain a safe, stable and secure future for themselves.

Code Red and Code Blue Announcements

 During the bitter cold winter months, Opportunity House will expand capacity to help an increased number of people have safety from the brutal weather.  Code Blue is declared when temperatures are below freezing, sub-zero or we anticipate a substantial snow storm.

Code Red occurs when temperatures exceed 90 degrees for a prolonged number of days.  This enables those with underlying health conditions an opportunity to get shelter from the oppressive heat and humidity.

Supportive Housing

Clients who successfully complete our shelter program, may choose to live in our permanent supportive housing program.  These individuals and families live in apartments and  townhouses close to Opportunity House.  Our permanent housing specialist provides ongoing communication and support to help former clients maintain long-term maintain stable housing.

Our supportive housing programs include:

  • Case management services to assist with daily living activities
  • Counseling to help clients set manageable goals
  • Assistance with job applications and  job interviewing skills.
  • Providing access to mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments when needed
  • Money management skills to  help clients prepare successful future.
  • Childcare through the Second Street Learning Center to ensure that clients are able to work any shift
  • Aftercare for those live in our supportive or permanent housing to promote long-term success. 

A Fighting Spirit to Overcome Homelessness-Opportunity House

“My mom taught me how to keep fighting and not to give up. My dad taught me to dream.” Those traits are part of her DNA that has helped her survive abuse, homelessness, and despair. Today, as Tara* is rebuilding her life, her internal motivation drives her while her Zen-like calmness gives her peace through […]