Track Record of Success
Since 1994, the Mercy Center has been a trusted place for women and children experiencing homelessness. What began with the Sisters of Mercy creating a respite to keep the most vulnerable members of the Erie community safe, in 2023 saw the doubling of beds and support services to all those experiencing homelessness including men. With the addition of the Mercy Anchor Community Center, the organization continues its tradition of being a safe haven for those experiencing homelessness.
In what ways does the Mercy Center influence its community to assist marginalized persons in Erie?
- Provides leadership in community initiatives affecting those impoverished. Mercy Center executive director is involved in “Erie’s Inclusive Growth: A Framework for Action,” a comprehensive playbook involving 50 local stakeholder to ensure billions of dollars in federal aid coming to this region are maximized. Our primary focus is on affordable housing and initiatives addressing homelessness
- Spearheaded community housing project for homeless. In 2020, the Mercy Center purchased a vacant 39,000 square-foot school, conducted a capital campaign that raised over $5 million from private donors, foundations, local businesses, gaming revenue resources, and state tax credit programs and renovated the school into apartments and support services. Included in those funds was the largest Neighborhood Assistance Program award ever given to a project in northwest Pennsylvania, $613,125. Due to Mercy Center’s capital campaign success, renovations were completed with zero debt. Community collaborations with more than 20 organizations were initiated to provide primary and behavioral health care services, AA/NA meetings, GED classes, pre-employment training programs, a food pantry and thrift store plus others under one roof.
- Granted $100,000 for Women Empowerment program. The Mercy Center was the sole recipient of a $100,000 grant recipient for its Women Empowered Achieve Results (WEAR) program. In 2022, The Erie Community Foundation's Erie Women's Fund
awarded the program whose goals are to break down the barriers of low-income women in Erie, so that they can obtain family-sustaining wages through education and job readiness skills.
- Leads initiatives in county-wide homeless coalition.
Executive leaders are involved in Erie County Home Team Homeless and Housing Coalition. Mercy Center executive director sits on governing board on coalition which spearheads initiatives in Erie County dealing with housing, healthcare, and supportive services for Erie’s homeless.
- Hosted The Pardon Project presentation for local attorneys, nonprofits. The director of the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) visited the Mercy Center, educating participants about the injustices that exist for those with criminal records and explained the pardon application process for residents whose criminal records are preventing them from obtaining housing and goals.
- Created community garden, winning national grant. The Mercy Center was awarded a $25,000 grant from the State Farm Neighborhood Assistant program for the center’s community garden project. The Mercy Center garnered the top 100 list of most votes from over 4,000 entries.
- Continually learning from others. Executive management from Mercy Center learned best practices from a colleague of The Midnight Mission, a large homeless shelter in Los Angeles, when she visited.
- Presented with preservation award for adaptation, reuse of building. The Mercy Anchor Community Center project received the 2022 Preservation Erie award for adaptive reuse of the formerly vacant Holy Rosary School.