Elizabethtown Winter Shelter

Serving Elizabethtown, Rheems, Bainbridge, Mount Joy, Marietta, and  Maytown

December 3, 2018 – April 5, 2019

The White Brick House at 53 E. Washington Street

Growing recognition that there were individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our own community led to the establishment of the Winter Shelter in 2015. Local churches, civic organizations, community members and Elizabethtown College worked together to provide a warm, clean, safe overnight shelter during the winter season for men, women and children.

Services Provided

The Winter Shelter provides a secure place for community members experiencing homelessness to get out of the cold and off the streets during the winter months.

ECHOS/Elizabethtown Community Housing Services supports clients with case management.

The churches of Elizabethtown and community volunteers are the backbone of the shelter operation which offers:

  • Sleeping quarters
  • Showers
  • Supper
  • Toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Breakfast

It takes 63 volunteers weekly to operate the Winter Shelter. We need your help!

Requesting Shelter

Those experiencing homelessness and requesting shelter must first be authorized through an intake screening.

The screening process for access to and pre-registration for the shelter takes place:

  • By appointment
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 8 am–4 pm
  • Community Place on Washington
    61 E. Washington St.
    (717) 689-3423


  • 6:30-8 pm
  • Community Place on Washington
  • 61 E. Washington Street

Individuals are also strongly encouraged to call 211 to secure additional assistance.

ECHOS works with Tabor Community Services, CHART (Community Homeless Assessment and Referral Team) and 211 to assist individuals find permanent housing.

For guests who receive authorization:

  • The Winter Shelter opens its doors in the evening at 7 pm and closes them for the night at 8 pm.
  • After 8 pm, entrance to the shelter is by police escort only.
  • In the morning, all guests leave no later than 8 am and may not leave before 6:30 am unless approved by ECHOS.

How to Access the Winter Shelter

  • Individuals experiencing homelessness are strongly encouraged to call 211 for referral between 7 am–5 pm,  Monday–Friday.
  • After 5 pm or on weekends:
    Call or text the Winter Shelter Coordinator
    (717) 690-9260
    Or email:
  • Guests may enter the shelter from 6:30–8 pm with, or without, a referral from 211.
  • Police escort only after 8 pm

Men, women, and children of all ages are welcome.

Accommodations will be made for handicapped guests.

Because shelter space is limited, guests will be served on a first come, first serve basis.

Become a Winter Shelter Volunteer

(December through March)

Volunteers are at the heart of the Winter Shelter program:

  • Evening Volunteers: greet clients, assist with nightly preparations, overnight stays, morning shift clean up, and serve meals. An initial training class is required.
  • Meal Prep: prepare evening and breakfast meals (can be frozen ahead), and snacks.

Interested in volunteering?
Frances Rubis, MSW
Winter Shelter Coordinator at
(717) 690-9260

This is a flexible volunteer opportunity. Only adults, age 18 or older, can volunteer at the shelter.

Scheduling is through a web-based program, SignUpGenius, and does not require a weekly commitment.

To assist at the shelter, every volunteer must provide a PA State Police Criminal Background check and a PA Child Abuse check and attend a two-hour volunteer training. Check out our upcoming volunteer training dates here. Email Frances if you are interested!

How You Can Give

An operation like the Winter Shelter has many on-going needs (see our Wish List for specifics), however, there are many ways of giving.

Monetary donations are always appreciated! They support Winter Shelter operations, assist clients with temporary needs (bus passes or a tank of gas, for example) and costs associated with moving into an apartment.

Checks can be made payable to ECHOS, then dropped off or mailed to our office:

17 South Market Street
Suite 101
Elizabethtown, PA 17022.

Donations can also be made by Credit Card at: www.etowncollegeonline.com/echos. Each person will receive an automatic tax receipt and the college will be notified along with ECHOS that a gift has been received.

For more information, contact ECHOS at 717-361-0740 or info@ECHOSLancaster.org.

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