Bethesda News

Building Projects on the Horizon

Two years ago we were peering into the next 3-5 years, facing crucial decisions and wonderful opportunities to provide expanded and restored facilities for our men, women and children. As we have been reporting, the demand for our services is growing significantly.

God has been leading us to determine the most effective approaches, and during the past year, the path forward has become much clearer.

These building projects will cost approximately $6M to $7.5M in total. The challenge has been to balance the desire to look ahead for a decade and longer, providing capacity to reach more hurting, desperate people, while being realistic about our ability to raise the needed funds.

As you have joined us in praying for God’s provision in each area, here is where God has led, opening doors in His timing, which is very exciting!

Herr Street Community Center

  • Youth Center since 1990: reaches 50-75 children, teens and families annually, ages 6-17
  • Solid support from Herr Street community – facility really functions as a community center
  • Renovate existing Youth Center, create entryway between two buildings, renovate recently acquired printing company building, create outdoor play area/parking
  • Estimated cost – $2.2M; raised $1.3M so far. Begin construction, spring 2017, finish spring 2018
  • Start with former printing company, renovating to create gym/activity center, rooms for variety of programs for children, teens, and adults – space for creative arts, education and IT support systems, music studio, banquets and large events, and activities for the elderly
  • Projected to reach 200+ children, teens and families upon completion
  • Prevention – this is an answer to, “what is Bethesda doing to help prevent the continuing rise of men and women struggling with addiction and abuse?” Teens involved in our programs for at least 2 years are graduating from high school at an 86% rate (42% Harrisburg School District rate).

Women’s Renewal Project (Existing Site)

  • Women & Children’s Shelter since 1983 – buildings over 100 years old. Periodic neighborhood instability: option – demolish/build new, $2.5M – $3M, or relocate. After 3 years of searching, decided to demolish and build new on existing site
  • Phase I & II will provide up to 20,000 sf for 60-80 beds, reaching women for long-term recovery, after care, and safe haven for 18-25 year olds. Present capacity is approximately 30 beds
  • Bethesda was blessed with an $840,000 estate gift reserved for this project. It provides huge incentive for foundation/ business grants and individual’s gifts. Also significant funds very likely from a bank grant program
  • Seeking to purchase some adjacent landlord properties for buffer.

Men’s Shelter EastSide Expansion

  • Men’s Shelter since 1934, former PA Railroad YMCA built in 1902, $4.6M restoration in 2009
  • All stages of homelessness in Harrisburg have increased by 40% in the past 5 years. Shelter consistently experiencing greater demand. Present bed capacity is 78, with numbers averaging 100-120 over past 2 years, and higher during coldest winter months (140-160) with men sleeping on mattresses throughout the building
  • EastSide Expansion – new 3-story structure, $2.5M: 2 stories of dormitory space, expanded/renovated kitchen/cafeteria space, and donation center
  • Requested zoning approval from the City to expand dorm capacity from 78 to 140+ and are seeking possible properties nearby for transient population.

For you, our donors, we praise God every day. There are nearly 10,000 of you who hear the stories of the needs of men, women and children who have lost hope, and our plans to offer effective programs and good facilities to give them the opportunity to experience a whole new life. For so many years God has been providing, through touching the minds and hearts of those willing to listen in this community.


This 3-5 year window in which we find ourselves, is such a crucial, strategic one for planning and implementing the restoration and expansion of our facilities, positioning the Mission for a decade or more. God continues to lead us, as together, we trust Him completely!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

Our sincere thanks for your faithful support – may you be richly blessed. In the coming months, tell someone about God’s amazing work!

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