Emergency Shelter for Homeless Families

Interfaith Shelter For Homeless Families

Homeless families face limited options. Shelters often separate people by age or gender, splitting fathers and mothers and teens. We believe it’s important to keep families together during a crisis. That’s why a group of volunteers, government officials and religious leaders from all faiths started the Interfaith Shelter in 1992.

The Interfaith Shelter is offering help and hope to homeless families in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties. In 2013, we helped nearly 372 families.

Families come feeling scared and alone, each with their own story, but they find the support and strength they need. Our goal is to encourage families and empower them to achieve self-sufficiency.

While at the shelter, case managers help families locate support services, through referrals to more than 50 community organizations and partners. The Interfaith Shelter provides:

  • 30-day emergency shelter
  • Assistance in finding and securing permanent housing
  • Basic needs, such as clothing, food and baby supplies
  • Referrals to other agencies to address the issues such as employment, life skills, mental and physical health, housing and child care
  • Intensive case management services to help clients confront the challenges that lead to homelessness and poverty

What is the cost? 

Services at the Interfaith Shelter are offered at no charge to the client.


A native of Puerto Rico, Maria* moved to Harrisburg with the dream of building a bright future for herself and her baby. While working to gain her bearing, Maria was kicked out of the house in which she had been staying, rendering Maria and her son homeless. Maria had very few options, as she had not yet secured a job, childcare, or private housing. In March 2017, Maria and her two year old son were welcomed into the Interfaith Shelter.
Upon entering the Interfaith Shelter, Maria immediately began building the skills needed to obtain self-sufficiency. The first challenge to overcome was Maria’s limited English proficiency. Determined to improve her English, Maria enrolled in ESL classes at the Tri-County Adult Learning Center, and she began practicing her growing language skills with residents and staff at the shelter. Maria also enrolled in a workforce development program offered through the PA Department of Human Services, working to develop marketable skills and gain permanent employment. Although many of the area’s transitional housing programs were completely full and had long wait lists, Maria eagerly applied to the YWCA Transitional Housing program. She knew that, with determination and hard work, she could build a better life for her family.
As she was nearing the end of her stay with the Interfaith Shelter, Maria was accepted into the YWCA Transitional Housing program and was assured that a room would soon be available. In order to keep Maria on the path towards success, the Interfaith Shelter granted Maria an extension until she was able to move into the YWCA. During her stay at Interfaith, Maria successfully obtained childcare, enrolled in a cash assistance program, improved her English proficiency, and began developing employment skills leading to a new job. Maria has served as an inspiration to others at the shelter that any barrier can be overcome.

- Anonymous
Council on Accrediation Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations United Way

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