Warming Center Schedule
Date and sponsor
History of Warming Center
On a cold January day in 2008, MHA attended a meeting at the Erie County Executive's office where the idea of opening a Warming Center for persons who were without shelter on the coldest of winter nights was being discussed. When it came time to consider where and when such a project could be established, MHA said we could open our Consumer Center from 11PM to 7AM starting in two days. With $5,000 in committed funding from the County and a willing MHA staff, The Warming Center at MHA was born. On any night when the overnight temperature is forecast to be 20 degrees or below, MHA coordinates with Erie County Emergency Management to get the word out to the community that the Warming Center at MHA will be opening its doors, accepting anyone who needs to come in from the cold during overnight hours provided they will abide by basic rules of mutual respect. MHA provides shelter, safety, food, coffee, activities, conversation, support, and a place to "nap" for those needing to rest.
In the 2011 winter season we were open 42 nights and provided warmth and comfort to over 400 shelterless persons. Individuals, churches, businesses and nonprofts throughout the community have generously stepped up to help with donations of funds, food, clothing, and blankets. Thanks to Erie's goodwill and support, the Warming Center at MHA has never missed a night because of lack or resources. The outpouring of care that we have experienced fills us all at MHA with great pride to be a part of such a loving community. Not only are they helping to provide a safe, warm place for those without shelter, MHA is a mental health consumer preferred employer. Every night the Warming Center at MHA is open, it is providing persons with mental health needs with a meaningful job.
One of the most impressive support efforts has come from our neighbors at The Upper Room at St. Paul's United Church of Christ at 11th and Peach St. They have graciously elected to open their facility for homeless persons between 5 and 11PM on any night on which we will be opening the Warming Center at MHA. Persons without a safe place to be will also have a resource during the evening hours when the temperatures can be life threatening. Our hats are off to The Upper Room. They could use some volunteers and financial help for their efforts and we encourage the community to support the Upper Room. Tom Schlaudecker and his staff will surely appreciate the help.
How to Help
Support the Warming Center with PayPal
Use your paypal account and enter 'Warming Center' in the instruction area.
Contributions can be mailed directly to the MHA at 1101 Peach St, Erie, PA 16501 attn: Bill Grove, CEO. We are a 501.c3 non-profit. Your contributions are tax deductable. A formal receipt will be returned to you for your tax records.
This printable wishlist contains many of the personal items needed by our visiting neighbors. In the past, MHA has accepted children’s clothing and toy donations for the Warming Center at MHA. We have found that there has been little call for these items. They could be of more use elsewhere at organizations that have more direct contact with children and families. For clean and gently used clothing donations, please limit to items for adult men and women. Thank you to all who have been so generous to us.
Warming Center at MHA
Handouts explaining the operation of the Warming Center at MHA are available here in a printable format.