New shelter aims to provide housing opportunities in affirming community

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LANCASTER, Pa (WHTM) – The Executive Director of the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, Karen Foley knows that a comfortable bed can be a luxury for some people.

“Housing is a huge issue here in Lancaster,” Foley said. “We have no place to send anyone in our community to be in a fully affirming crisis shelter.”

The coalition has now launched a pilot program called the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART). As part of the program, they also have a shelter, which opens its doors to people who may not be welcome in other places.

“In response to COVID-19 it’s unethical to not house people,” Foley said. “People are getting evicted, and right now to keep everyone safe we need to create housing opportunities as quickly as possible.”

Foley said the shelter will be an inclusive place. She also said it will offer a six-month program to offer a supportive environment for those planning on their next steps.

Foley said the shelter will always have a room open to those who are in crisis.

“We’re really looking at being able to offer housing for folks where everyone who walks in the door is going to be fully welcomed,” Foley said. “There are no issues in terms of racism, or in terms of economic issues.”

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