LightHouse Women and Children’s Center opens in Reading

Hope Rescue Mission held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the LightHouse Women and Children’s Center on Friday morning followed by an open house and tours.

The massive development project to transform a 25,000-square-foot thrift store into the LightHouse Women and Children’s Center began in January 2020 when they kicked off their capital campaign that was then halted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Campaign efforts were reignited at the May 1, 2022 Hope Gala and continued as construction costs increased by $2M since the project began.

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The shelter will be open to any woman who needs a safe place to stay, including women who have children, single women and unaccompanied youth.

The building has been outfitted with 43 residential rooms, each with private restroom facilities, with the ability to accommodate a total of 125 women and children. This design was intentional to offer every woman privacy and dignity, while also reducing public health issues common in dormitory-style settings.

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“Since 1894, Hope Rescue Mission has been the primary place of refuge for men facing homelessness in Berks County. Progressive phases of residential and work programs enable men to transition back into the community as productive and independent individuals. Now, for the first time in our history, the Mission is expanding our services to the larger community with the LightHouse Women and Children’s Center. We wanted to hold an open house so the community can tour the LightHouse before we open our doors to welcome those seeking shelter,” said Kate Alley, Executive Director of the LightHouse.

“A lot of thought went into using trauma-informed design to create a safe space for women and children to get back on their feet with privacy and dignity. We wanted to create a space that was welcoming and would feel like home.”

Rob Turchi, CEO of Hope Rescue Mission observed, “This is a monumental day for us to celebrate. We have waited for a long time to be able to offer the women and children of Berks County the same valuable services we have been offering the men for 129 years. Our goal is to ensure that the children of LightHouse will escape the trauma of abusive environments and stay in a safe and supportive place with their mothers. LightHouse Women and Children’s Center will offer women a community of support to help them break free from the cycle of poverty, get back on their feet, and move forward in a healthier direction in life.”

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