Housing services remain a priority focus in our mission to challenge and reduce poverty.

For 20 years, St. Barnabas Mission has been a beacon of hope for families in West Philadelphia. Now St. Barnabas is evolving: ceasing emergency shelter operations and shifting ECS’ housing focus to support long-term homes and community building.

Over the next several months, as ECS expands its long-term housing program, short-term congregant living services will wind down and close at St. Barnabas Mission.

With the number of families served already decreasing (just 11 families occupying 32 beds) due to fewer referrals and to COVID-19 density-thinning measures, the shelter will serve existing families through the winter months until March, and cease operations as a shelter by June 30, 2021.

In recent years, ECS has observed that the nation’s primary standard of care for families experiencing homelessness has changed from a system of congregant shelters like St. Barnabas Mission to one of moving families directly into their own homes. While some changes were anticipated, the health crisis has been the tipping point for our shelter program.

The St. Barnabas facility, which currently houses several dynamic programs including Rapid ReHousing, Opportunity Development, the expanded Community Food Cupboard, and the newly renovated Health and Wellness Clinic, will remain a beacon of hope for the community.

Further plans for ECS’ building at 60th Street and Girard Avenue will be developed over the coming months, following a survey of the needs and resources of the neighborhood.

Over the past two decades, thousands of families have found safety and respite at St. Barnabas Mission, whose origins were in the basement of Saint Barnabas Church, Haddington, now the parish of Saint George Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church.

We know how much you care about families experiencing homelessness, and we thank you for your years of support and concern for the families at St. Barnabas. We are excited about the countless possibilities. When the transition is complete, we anticipate serving significantly more people and families than in the current configuration.