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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Safe Harbor of Chester County

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Housing & Shelter, Human Services, Mental Health, Mental Health & Crisis Intervention

Mission: Safe Harbor of Greater West Chester is a non-profit charitable organization, whose mission is to provide shelter, food, counseling and recovery opportunities in a structured environment to homeless single men and homeless single women in Chester County PA.  Safe Harbor's goals go beyond just feeding the homeless and providing shelter.  We seek to understand each person's background, define short-term action plans designed to address their challenges and monitor their progress in rebuilding their lives, self-esteem, and moving to a more independent way of life.

Target demographics: Homeless single men and homeless single women

Geographic areas served: Chester County, PA

Programs: Safe Harbor of Greater West Chester provides overnight accommodations for up to 20 men and 20 women, including a hot evening meal and breakfast, showers, laundry facilities, clothing and personnel hygiene supplies. A professional and volunteer staff, provide friendship, encouragement and support. Resources from collaborating agencies are used for providing: case management, intensive physical and/or emotional health treatment, substance abuse counseling and treatment, job training, high school equivalency certification, direction in job searches, housing and guidance in personal financial management.

Community Stories

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I really enjoy volunteering at Safe Harbor! I’ve created relationships with so many of the women, and enjoy talking to them every week. It’s nice to see the familiar faces each visit, and hear about any updates in the women’s’ lives. It’s also great to be able to assist the residents in whatever little way we can- even if it’s just in the form of having someone to talk to. The women are always so appreciative of any small thing we do, and never fail to share how thankful they are. Every time I visit Safe Harbor, I learn something new. Sometimes this knowledge comes from a story of a resident’s past, and sometimes it comes from a new skill or lesson that the residents share with me.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor of Chester County has a special place in my heart. Since I began working with them almost 5 years ago, I have discovered all of the amazing work they do for the homeless in our area. Safe Harbor is not only a homeless shelter providing a clean, safe and comfortable place for Chester County men and women in need; they also work to connect residents with services and branch out to our local families in need as well. It is an honor to work with an organization, and the people behind it, who care so much.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been helping at Safe Harbor for about 7 years. The time here is a very important part of my week. Helping people makes one feel really good inside. the chance to see people improve from week to week, to see their progress is helpful and to see Gods hand in ones life is awesome.
Thanks for the experiences.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I began working with Safe Harbor through a local education program of September this year with a student volunteer. Not only have they opened up their doors every day with generous donations of food/toiletries and time to the community, but they do so every single day with kindness. I have never seen such hard work combined with compassion, and in doing so they've assisted me in a personal level to see what kinds of things I can do to help with my community. Bigger than that, they've helped me to reevaluate my everyday decisions, and practices.
As mentioned previously, I am here working with a student and beyond helping the people of the direct community, Safe Harbor has assisted myself and the students in need to develop great work and social skills. Myself and the student that accompanies me look forward to coming by to see everyone each day we're here. They're helping to bring work skills, social skills, and smiles each and every day we're here. The community wouldn't be the same here in West Chester if it wasn't for this strong program and even stronger people behind it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience at Safe Harbor has been a great one thus far! Being as though, this is my first time working at a shelter, I see that Safe Harbor cares about the well being of the people in need in the West Chester community. They make sure to help my student become the version of herself day in and day out, by motivating to work hard and get done as many tasks as possible. I would highly recommend safe harbor to anybody is in need of help because they are GREAT and want to see EVERYBODY become the best they can be!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered my time to Safe Harbor for almost 7 years. The staff has always been so friendly and supportive of the residents and the volunteers. The facility is very clean and cheerful. I would highly recommend them for those in need of their services. I also recommend anyone looking to contribute to the community to volunteer their time to support this worthwhile organization.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor is a wonderful nonprofit organization that strives to provide the best support for its residents. The staff members are always so pleasant and helpful for the residents and volunteers. This organization is a great place to help out at, I highly recommend it!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Recently volunteered there on 10/14, for National Physical Therapy Day of Service, and had a great time serving others and met some friendly people! The staff was fun and easy to work with. The friendly individuals we served were very polite, I heard more please and thank yous in those few hours than I normally do in a whole day. Everyone was very appreciative of our time there.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The people working here are so delightful, and I am amazed at the devotion they have. I definitely hope to work with this non-profit in the future!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The West Chester community is very lucky to have the people who are working and volunteering at Safe Harbor. It is a wonderful organization doing a lot of good with hard work to help the homeless get back on their feet.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor is a wonderful organization doing a lot of good for Chester County! They so work hard to help the homeless get back on their feet. We are so lucky to have people like the folks at Safe Harbor serving our community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This place is the best - the staff is so caring and personable. I really had a great time here.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer at Safe Harbor for many years now. I have helped with serving meals as well as providing donations. The staff is always friendly and helpful. They provide a much needed and appreciated service to our town and we love to serve with Safe Harbor.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Having been a volunteer at Safe Harbor serving dinner in the shelter with my wife's women's group, I became more involved by joining the Board. Since being on the board and serving on committees I have come to know the history of the organization, the clients and staff. Working with the staff and other volunteers on various projects. I have seen the successes that have come about by staff and volunteers assisting the clients to get their lives back together and find self worth. It is extremely rewarding to see a client be able to get back out into society and find a job, housing and become independent.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with Safe Harbor as a volunteer, a donor, a partner and a Board Member. Everyone associated with Safe Harbor is truly committed to their mission of helping people and eliminating homelessness in Chester County one person at a time. The organization is fiscally sound and efficiently managed with resources always being focused in the best interest of the residents and the mission. The mission has continually become more difficult and complicated as County regulations have directed more and more residents to Safe Harbor that have mental and substance abuse problems. Safe Harbor has adjusted to this changing reality by adding case management resources to better meet the residents needs. However, the challenges remain difficult and the staff remains committed.

Personally, through my company Vision Service Plan (VSP), I have partnered with Safe Harbor over the last three years to provide approximately 70 residents with free exams and free glasses . VSP provides this service thru a local Eye Care Professional with no cost to the resident and no cost to Safe Harbor. The Doctor is also being reimbursed fully. VSP provides this service through our Foundation, but we could not accomplish this success without the support and full collaboration with Safe Harbor and their staff.

Safe Harbor is making a real difference in people's lives everyday and is a five star performer in my eyes. I am proud to be associated with Safe Harbor. The world is a better place because of them.
Jim Wenke

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I initially approached Safe Harbor about a group of students from our school for children living with Autism, volunteering with them in the community. We worked together and Safe Harbor staff said they could really use help with picking up donations from different vendors and stocking them in the kitchen back at Safe Harbor.
Our group of three students undertake this task every Monday and thoroughly enjoy doing it, they have learned about the meaning of Safe Harbor and the services it provides, they also feel purposeful themselves that other people are relying on them each week. We love our partnership with Safe Harbor and all the wonderful people our students meet there, thank you for providing this great opportunity for our guys !!

Anthony71

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is by far the most superior homeless shelter around. Plus, it's free lunch program includes great food.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor is an excellent non-profit that has been providing shelter, food and support services to single men and single women experiencing homelessness in Chester County for over 20 years. The dedicated staff work tirelessly to maintain the safety, health and well being of all of the residents. The midday lunch program provides a meal to anyone who comes into the shelter at that time. Through the efforts of its Case Manager, Program Manager and other staff, Safe Harbor works with each resident to get them rehoused as soon as possible based on their individual situations. While this work is going on, the resident can stay for up to 120 days.
Safe Harbor is also fortunate to have hundreds of dedicated volunteers who assist the staff in many ways. It also has an active Board of Directors who are reviewing the work of the shelter to make certain that its mission is accomplished. Finally, Safe Harbor has many donors who believe in the organization and its mission and support it financially so that the good work can go on.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a lunchtime volunteer at Safe Harbor every Monday for about a year and a half and it has been a wonderful experience. The well-cared-for and well-run facility is staffed by a group of dedicated professionals, and the atmosphere is warm and friendly to clients and volunteers alike. Safe Harbor is a great service to Chester County for those in need and it's a good feeling, as a volunteer, to be part of that service.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor is a selfless and learning-centered organization. The leadership has connected with Immaculata University (http://www.immaculata.edu/)such that three undergraduate students have interned or are interning at SH. The students have enabled SH to leverage social media to a better degree and the student-interns, as well as scores of other IU Students, have learned more about the challenge of homelessness.

2 Kristin68

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor is an outstanding nonprofit organization that sets itself apart from other local nonprofits and homeless shelters by maintaining a clean facility, treating each and every one of its men and women with unparalleled kindness and respect, and constantly seeking out new opportunities for organizational growth and development. Every staff member that I've had the privilege of meeting has been selfless, passionate about his or her position, and radiates kindness and good will. This is a very special place that deserves recognition in the community.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Commitment and dedication of staff to improving resident's lives and well-being truly amazing. SH is a well structured, clean and safe environment for homeless single men and women.

1 Andrew71

Client Served

Rating: 4

I was a client in Safe Harbor sleeping in the men's dormitory when I was homeless a month in West Chester Pennsylvania. I ate in their cafeteria seldom over years.

Safe Harbor staff are doing a good job to get people from the community who are healthy plus who have food and can fix their own lunch at home to prepare that food & eat in their home. I don't eat lunch in their cafeteria anymore. The last time I did an adult orphan man invited me to eat lunch with him. Next time in the lunch room when I'm visiting if he's there I'll explain to him why I'm not eating lunch there. :-) I hope I'm never a homeless resident there again.

Safe Harbor deserves praise for their remodeling or for completely destroying by taking down the previous building and constructing an entirely new facility to shelter an equal amount of women. I understand United Way of Chester County was also involved.

3 Sue1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Safe harbor for almost 2 years. At first I did it to help those in need, but now I realize how much it helps me too. I get so much out of it and truly look forward to going. So many residents have touched my life there and hopefully, I have touched a few of theirs.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Safe Harbor about 2 months ago after many years of interest in serving the homeless. It is very clean, organized, and well-run. The staff and residents are friendly and make me feel welcome.

3 Alicia V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a West Chester Univeristy student and I am part of a group writing a grant proposal for Safe Harbor. We believe that Safe Harbor is doing a great job servicing the homeless single men and women of Chester County. Our goal is to be able to secure funds so that Safe Harbor can extend it's hours during the winter months on days of extreme weather. Safe Harbor is truly an asset to the West Chester community.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Safe Harbor for the last 2 years and I am continuously amazed by the generosity of the community in supporting this organization. The amount of donations is most helpful wether is be monetarily or clothing/food items. The residents have access to so many resources through Safe Harbor such as Building Bridges and drug/alcohol counseling just to name a few. They also have a lunch program that continues to grow to provide for those in need.

Comments ( 1 )

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aliciasafeharbor 11/18/2011

I am the shelter supervisor for Safe Harbor. Working with the men/ women is a wonderful experience. November 20, 2011 starts our winter program. This is when the men\ women can stay in all day on Sundays because of the frigid temps. We also offer code blue beds. Code blue is when the temp is 35 degrees or below so we give a person a bed for the night so they are not on the streets.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started to help out at the shelter in memory of my 16 yr.old nephew, who passed in 2008, in a car accident. Our family has purchased two bricks, already placed outside. I help at lunch every Monday and Wed. and also an occasional Sunday am in Men's dorm. I get so much more than I could ever give back. I love it at Safe Harbor, and miss everyone when not there. I am unable to work due to extensive health issues so I do the best I can when there and try never to miss a day for the lunch crowd. The staff are the greatest and I can honestly say I care about each and every resident and lunch guest. Thank-you Safe Harbor for all you do and all you stand for......Debbie Russo Klales

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello, I have been a volunteer at Safe Harbor for 13 years, and it has been a fine experience for me to get familiar with people who have different life experiences than I do. I have seen Safe Harbor grow from a sparse 1- story building (formerly a car repair shop) to a thriving 2-story building for 20 men (lower floor) and 20 women (second floor). The Executive Director, staff members, and board members are dedicated, creative people who are in tune with the concepts of properly running a non-profit organization (NPO). I know because I have taken coursework regarding NPOs, and the Safe Harbor personnel have done a stellar, admireable job of keeping this NPO thriving. The residents of Safe Harbor have bettered themselves and have thrived with the help of the services at Safe Harbor. It has been a pleasure to see the residents get the help they need! This organization is truly worthwhile in our community! Best wishes, Angie P.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I lived for years never knowing where my son was. He would call once in a while from a shelter just like this one. A safe place, a warm bed, a caring community. I can never give back enough to those special people who shared a bit of their life to make my son's life a little better. I was able to sleep for a night. Bring a smile to someone, listen to their story, make them feel cared for. Humanity at its best, this shelter is run so very well. I am proud to be a small part of it. Great people, great staff, and caring, concerned, community leaders!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been cooking and servng meals at Safe Harbor for several years. It is a very well run organization and fills a crucial need in our community.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I’m a retired executive from a large corporation. My wife and I have often supported charities with donations over the years, but since retiring have looked for those we can get personally involved with. For the last 7 years I have been helping serve community lunch several times per month to the 40 – 60 people who come in each day. In addition, my wife and I provide and serve dinner to the overnight residents several times per year. Safe Harbor is a well run, cost conscious operation. There are controls on supplies and other expense items to prevent waste. Careful records are kept of the number of people served in order to accurately report on the services delivered to funding organizations. Quality of the food is important, especially to make it taste good and look appealing. The number of people that take advantage of the services provided is a testament to both the quality of what they receive as well as the sad fact that so many are in need. In my experience, people treat others the way they are treated. It is obvious the residents and those who come for lunch are treated with respect and dignity, because they treat each other, the staff and volunteers the same way. This has been a learning experience in many ways. I have learned a lot about who is hungry and homeless in America today. I had one image, based upon media stories and politicians’ descriptions slanted by the particular view they were promoting. What I found is that these extreme views fit few of the hungry and homeless. Many have jobs, but don’t earn enough for a roof over their heads. Some have been injured in accidents, and have lost everything to medical bills. There are retirees whose Social Security doesn’t cover their expenses any more. And there are those who made bad choices, and have paid heavily for it. The great majority is trying hard to improve their situation, and is thankful for the help they get from Safe Harbor. Everyone that succeeds is a testament to his or her personal strength and an inspiration to the rest. We give our time and money, but we receive so much in return. We interact with those we help, we get to know them. Their thanks and blessings are sincere and heartfelt, and humbling. We have developed a much greater appreciation for what we have. Safe Harbor benefits those it helps, and those that volunteer to help it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering at Safe Harbor for about a year. I have been very impressed with the new women's facilities. I think the women's area creates an atmosphere that encourages fellowship and support from staff and fellow residents. It is also cheerful and has a quiet room. When I volunteered a couple weeks ago, I enjoyed visiting with and serving the women so much that it didn't feel at all like work! I am also impressed with the way the community contributes with donations, their time, and prepared meals. The coordinator of volunteers has always been very professional and organized in my experience with her. Overall, I am happy that those in need of temporary shelter can find a safe place to rest and rejuvenate as they seek more permanent housing.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been interested in Safe Harbor for many years. I am impressed with their ambitious growth to include serving up to 20 women now. They recognized the need and raised the funding at a rate far faster Than I thought possible. I donate to this shelter because I know it is well run, connects people who need help with the services they need, makes wise use of my donations, and has incredible advocates on their board and in the community. I have toured the facility. It is spotless.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for seven years and a member of the Board since December 2009. Safe Harbor is a wonderful, caring organization that provides a variety of services to people in need. The new facility is "awesome" and would not have been possible without the support from an incredible number of individuals and local organizations. On a daily basis, Safe Harbor offers 40 homeless men and women with a safe and comfortable "home" while they are getting their lives back on track. The environment is positive and stresses mutual respect for all. Expenses are tightly managed but funding remains a challange, especially in these tough economic times. Everyone involved with Safe Harbor is dedicated to its cause and finds a way to keep the organization moving forward.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Twice a year, on my mother's birthday and the anniversary of her passing, I donate to cover the cost of a day's operating expenses for the shelter, and volunteer in the evening to help serve dinner. It is a very satisfying experience, and over the years I have had the fortune to meet some warm, wonderful people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with safe harbor for about a year now as the residents personal hair dresser. i love going to safe harbor and enjoy my time with the residents. Safe harbor is a well oiled machine that is an asset to our communtiy. I am so happy that they are in there new facility and able to do that much more for the people in need in West Chester. i will continue to be a art of Safe Harbor as long as they will have me and encourage my friends, family and anyone else to do the same.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My family and I cook dinner several times a year for the 20-30 men who come to Safe Harbor on Sunday nights for their meal. Although we do the cooking at home and deliver and serve at the facility, we have all enjoyed getting to interact with clients there who have made great suggestions for future meals they would appreciate having if we were willing to cook them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During the time period when the Safe Harbor facility was under construction and then was partially destroyed by an unexpected fire, I became one of many first time volunteers who offered to spend nights in various churches and synagogues which, on a rotating basis, provided shelter for the women who were enrolled in the program. I will always be grateful for the experience and learned to appreciate more than ever the wonderful service which Safe Harbor provides for people in transition. Bonnie Friedman

Volunteer

Rating: 5

By the grace of God, I have been involved with 'Safe Harbor' before it became Safe Harbor. In 1992, the church of which I am a member, First Presbyterian Church of West Chester/Pennsylvania, opened its facility for homeless men. The size of our Social Hall restricted the number to 20 (as I recall). They slept on folded cots and had to leave by 7/8 A.M. My involvement w/ Safe Harbor has been extensive over the life of its' existence. From the beginning, the residents have been treated with the utmost in kindness and respect. We have maintained a policy off 'TOUGH LOVE'!! Residents are required to show respect for EVERY ONE, staff as well as fellow residents. Residents must be a part of keeping the facility clean and neat. There are times at which a 'waiting list' has to be kept. I could write a story on the pluses of Safe Harbor because I love what is being done for a segment of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Most important is that Safe Harbor is an outstanding example of the teachings of Jesus Christ. ..... Visit us when you find time and you will, I hope, become 'infected' by my enthusiasm for what we have been, and continue to do in West Chester, Pa. Harold Freeman.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

Safe Harbor not only provides food and shelter to some of the most vulnerable people in Chester County, but also through case management enables them to move ahead with their lives and become more independent.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I assisted our companys community efforts to provide Safe Harbor lunches during our Mars Volunteer Program week in October. Safe Harbor provides over 65 meals a day to those in need. While this number has risen, Safe Harbor volunteers continue to provide a wonderful meal to everyone in a very clean (spottless) environment. I will volunteer more of my time in 2011 as you can see the difference Safe Harbor makes in the community.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor and a volunteer for Safe Harbor. West Chester homeless men and women are well-served by this wonderful organization. The new building that now has space available for 20 women was something this community needed desparately. Men could find shelter at Salvation Army, but no women.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor of West Chester provides a clean, well maintained facility with reasonable regulations for both homeless men and women. The staff are friendly, welcoming and helpful to the volunteers. I started volunteering there this year and I am impressed with every aspect of the facility. The original facility was open only to men; however, an addition was conceived and constructed to provide shelter for women as well. They have done a marvelous job and it is a privilege to help them meet the needs of the less fortunate in our area.

Board Member

Rating: 3

I first became involved with Safe Harbor when asked to join the Board of Directors. That was almost 3 years ago. Because I was not very familiar with the shelter, I began volunteering there one day each week. I served hot lunches to the 30, 40, or 50 members of the community at large who come by for not only substantial and nourishing meals, but thanks to the caring and competent kitchen staff - extremely delicious meals as well. I also spent time working in the office with the Volunteer coordinator and listened to her handle numerous and frequent calls and requests from folks with great needs. I was constantly amazed at the courtesy and dignity given to everyone - at Safe Harbor everyone is made to feel welcome AND respected. Meanwhile, I served on the Board and worked side by side with a varied and versatile group as we pulled together to raise the funds in order to double the size of our location and add a second story to accommodate 20 single homeless women as well as 20 single homeless men. It has been 8 months since we re-opened our doors.... Safe Harbor is well run, well maintained and continues to provide a warm safe and welcoming environment to those who reside there, as well as great lunches to anyone in the community 5 days a week.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Safe Harbor for a period of time until work travel issues interfered with my schedule. I look forward in the near future to being able to return. It was a great experience. I was very impressed with the attitude of those who work there everyday and also with the other volunteers. The men and women who benefit from the shelter seemed to understand and appreciate the opportunity it provided to catch their breath and get back on track. Whether you are considering a donation of your time, money or needxed articles be assured it will be a good investment.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Safe Harbor is the only Homeless Shelter in Chester County, PA that accepts single homeless women. I am so proud of the fact that we were able to expand the Shelter to address the need in the County. Safe Harbor currently houses 20 single homeless men and 20 single homeless women, as well as providing a community lunch program 5 days a week. The Shelter's staff is truly devoted to its Mission, and we have the best volunteers around (almost 300 strong!!). On behalf of the entire Board, I thank all of our staff, volunteers and donors for all they do for the Shelter.