The Warming Center opens from 11 PM to 7:30 AM when temperatures are 25° or sustained wind chills are at 20° or below. Men, women, and families who are homeless, or otherwise unable to have shelter through the night, can come in from the cold to get warm, have something to eat, talk to someone, watch a movie and above all, be safe.
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.
Handouts explaining the operation of the Warming Center at MHA are available here in a printable format.
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.
Six years ago we increased the opening temperature to 25 degrees or below and in 2015 we added another opening threshold of sustained wind chills of 20 degrees or below. The 2013-14 winter season was the coldest since we opened the Warming Center at MHA and we were open for a record 91 nights, providing warmth and comfort to over 340 shelterless persons. While more recent winters have been milder we have continued to serve the same number of guests each year. Individuals, churches, businesses and nonprofits throughout the community have generously stepped up to help with donations of funds, food, clothing, hygiene products and blankets. Thanks to Erie's goodwill and support, the Warming Center at MHA has never missed a night because of lack of 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. They are not just 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 also providing persons with mental health needs with a meaningful job and a paycheck.
One of the most impressive support efforts has come from our neighbors at The Upper Room of Erie 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 as well.
We also want to recognize Mike Tann and the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority for their support in making sure that persons without transportation on our coldest mornings are provided with a ride from the Overflow Shelter site to the Bishop's Breakfast at St. Paul's Church of Christ. The "e" has provided this service since 2015 and is truly a life saver.
Aug 16 2017 Erie, PA
On August 8th the Erie Community Foundation sponsored its annual Erie Gives Day from 8AM to 8PM. The Warming Center at MHA was once again among the many possible nonprofit selections individuals could support with online donations. Once the corporate match funds are applied to the total raised, the Warming Center will have attracted over $3,000 in support this year. That translates into at least 6 Warming Nights when temperatures dip to 25 degrees or below or sustained wind chills are forecast for 20 degrees or below.
As always, MHA is very grateful for the support we receive from our friends in the community on Erie Gives Day and throughout the year. We are getting closer to our goal of raising $45,000 to ensure we will be able to open our doors every night the temperatures hit our opening thresholds. We still have $12,000 we need to raise by November so keep us in your thoughts as you consider donation priorities this Fall.
Jun 16 2017 Presque Isle, PA
The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community was held at Beach 11 at Presque Isle State Park on Sat. June 3rd. It was a beautiful day and the event was well attended. The Warming Center at MHA was one of 23 organizations for which the Walk raised funds. We collected over $7,000 this year. MHA has participated in this event since its inception and will be back again next year.
We are very grateful to Highmark for sponsoring this event each year. It has always been a well organized and successful fundraiser for many Erie nonprofits. The move this year from Beach 1 to Beach 11 proved to be a good one and portends even more successful Walks in the future.
Thanks to all who gave to the Warming Center at MHA in this year's Walk.
May 12 2017 Erie, PA
While we can never totally rule out snow in May, we believe with some confidence that we can say the Warming Center at MHA is closed until next Fall when overnight temperatures again reach the 25 degrees or below threshold or sustained wind chills plummet to 20 degrees or below. Erie was fortunate that this past winter was on the mild side. The Warming Center at MHA opened a total of 58 nights serving 339 unduplicated grateful guests. We are so thankful to the generosity of individuals, churches, and businesses for dollars, clothing, food, and hygiene items they gave us to keep the Warming Center open and meet the needs of our guests. Some of our donors have been with us every year since we opened in January of 2008. Others are joining with us for the first time this year. Whether you or the business/organization you represent are a long term or a recent donor, thank you, thank you, thank you! And please, help us again for the next season.
Have a great summer.
Nov 19 2017 Erie, PA
Millcreek Coffee Co. (formerly McCormick Coffee) has donated a supply of coffee to the Warming Center at MHA. Nothing says welcome like the offer of a warm beverage when a guest comes to the Center on one of Erie's coldest winter nights. This is the 8th year Millcreek Coffee has supported the Warming Center at MHA in this manner and we are very grateful. The Center can go through a lot of coffee and this donation helps to keep our funds available to meet payroll and be true to our promise to be open any night temperatures will dip to 25 degrees or below. The past 2 winters have been long and brutal. Millcreek coffee has helped make them more pleasant. Thanks.