The mission of St. Patrick’s Haven is to offer a ministry of presence and provide a place of welcome, nightly refuge, food, comfort, and friendship for homeless men in the area. Their doors are open to any homeless man who needs a place to stay – they welcome everyone.
St. Patrick’s Haven has provided for the needs of homeless men in the city of Erie since it was founded in 1984 and is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern PA. After several years located at 147 east 12th Street, the maintenance costs for the building continued to rise substantially.
In 2014, St. Patrick’s Haven was the recipient of Roar on the Shore monies. Those proceeds allowed us to begin the process to build a facility specifically designed to accommodate our needs and increase the number of men we are able to serve each night. After extensive fundraising and construction, the new St. Patrick’s Haven was opened and officially welcomed our first guests on November 17, 2017. The men stayed at our old location (a block away) on November 16th and in the morning helped to move the Haven to our new location. The new building is staffed by 2 live-in managers who oversee the day-to-day operation of St. Patrick’s Haven. Our two managers are former guests, former homeless men. They understand and relate to the daily struggles our guests encounter. They are a quiet, strong support. One of the guests told me recently that he knows if he has a question, he can come to the Haven and Bill and Richard, our managers, will help him, will tell him the truth and will support him. The Haven offers safety to not only to the men who come to our doors but also to our community.
St. Patrick’s Haven is located at 239 E. 12th St., and can accommodate 24 men each night. The Erie community needs the services provided by the Haven. In Erie County, 37% of the homeless population are men. The top three causes for homelessness in Erie County are: mental health problems, poor money management and poor decision making skills. Last year, St. Patrick’s Haven provided shelter to 180 men, including 36 veterans, for an average of 43 nights each. St. Patrick’s Haven relies on the commitment and support of the Erie community to help keep the doors of the shelter open.
At any time, any one of us could be homeless – a bad decision, economic disaster, loss of a job, addiction, release from prison – there are a myriad of reasons people find themselves homeless. St. Patrick’s Haven has welcomed homeless professionals, craftsmen, and also those who just have never found their way. Being homeless hurts. No one gets up in the morning and says, “I think I’d like to be homeless today.” The Haven offers a safe place, quiet and warm, to clean up, to think and to rest. It is a safe place in the darkness of the night.
How can you help? Donations are always welcome. Checks can be made out to St. Patrick’s Haven and mailed to our administrative offices located at 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, PA 16506. Donations of coffee, canisters of sugar and creamer, individually wrapped snacks and socks are always needed. If you would like to donate items, please contact Betsy Wiest at 881-6088 to make arrangements for delivery.
On behalf of the thousands of men who have walked through the doors of St. Patrick’s Haven seeking refuge from a harsh world, thank you for caring and thank you for your interest in St. Patrick’s Haven.