Mission & Vision
Mission: Mobilize compassionate and engaged communities to provide services to prevent and alleviate the effects of poverty to gain stability in people’s lives.
Vision: Creating long-term stability among our neighbors
ECHOS serves individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, are at-risk of homelessness, or are in need of services. All individuals must be closely connected with Elizabethtown, Rheems, Bainbridge, Mount Joy, Marietta, or Maytown.
ECHOS is part of the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness (LCCEH), a network of health and human service providers, business leaders and private sector individuals working to eradicate homelessness in Lancaster City and County via:
- Service coordination
- Public education
- Community organizing.
Endorsed by the County of Lancaster, Lancaster City, and the United Way of Lancaster County, the LCCEH is transforming the homeless system into a housing-first approach of prevention, diversion, and rapid re-housing to provide permanent homes for all residents.
In 2015, churches and community volunteers opened an emergency shelter hosted at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church during the winter months. It soon became evident that the needs were greater than imagined and beyond the scope of help that the shelter alone could provide.
Elizabethtown College spearheaded a grant writing initiative to secure funding to create a local service operation, ECHOS, to assist individuals at risk. Elizabethtown College would provide oversight of funding and an administrative office while ECHOS, a not-for-profit Pennsylvania corporation, hired staff and opened an office in downtown Elizabethtown.
The grant proposal was successful, and in July 2016, ECHOS began assisting individuals and families who were experiencing homelessness in the Elizabethtown area. ECHOS has significantly grown since then to become a multi-faceted social service agency collaborating with local and Lancaster area providers.
Community support enabled ECHOS to officially move to their current downtown location in May 2017, while expanding to meet increased needs beyond addressing homelessness. The on-going generosity of our community has allowed ECHOS to grow significantly while working with key partners in the County.
The ECHOS program operates using the Housing First philosophy, a model designed to engage people who are chronically homeless and is considered a best practice by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This approach provides housing as a precursor to providing behavioral health services, education, or employment. Housing First is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities–like a place to live–before dealing with other life challenges like substance use or finding a job.
What We Do
We assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness, at-risk of homelessness, or in need of services who are already connected with the Elizabethtown area (Elizabethtown, Rheems, Bainbridge, Mount Joy, Marietta, and Maytown) by:
- Providing emergency winter shelter at The White Brick House, part of the CPOW complex.
- Delivering information & referral for service connection
- Directing services and case management
- Providing housing related services
We work closely with:
- Lancaster Coalition to End Homelessness
- United Way of Lancaster County
- Churches and Faith Communities
- Community Agencies and Service Providers
- Local Businesses
- Civic Organizations and Government Entities
- Landlords and Property Owners
- Elizabethtown College
“I don’t even know how to express all my thanks to you. You saw how different I was, how defeated and broken. People had given up on me, and I was about to, when I came to this shelter. I never would have imagined that 3 months later, I would have all this, and people that care!”
– Elizabethtown Shelter Guest, 2016