ABOUT CSS

HISTORY

Community Shelter Services is known to the community for its commitment and integrity of the agency’s mission “to preserve the dignity and support the development of those individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by providing temporary, transitional and permanent options for shelter, as well as supportive services, referrals, advocacy, and community education.”

CSS aids the poor and homeless who come to our agency for basic human services in times of critical need. We begin by providing immediate services in our Emergency Shelter and then assist individuals and families with various levels of support services to maintain a functional lifestyle and housing stability. We operate 98 units of site-based subsidized housing for single adults with little or no income. We also own and operate several single-family homes in which we place former emergency shelter residents. We serve over 500 adults and families annually and have been doing this work for more than 50 years. The clients we serve include veterans suffering from PTSD, the seriously mentally ill, individuals with substance abuse issues, families fleeing domestic violence and child abuse, and the poor and unemployed facing eviction or foreclosure. As a member of the HOME team, we partner with other service providers to plan and administer the community’s safety net for the homeless.

Established in 1973 as a 12-bed emergency shelter facility at 241 East 26th Street, Community Shelter Services has evolved into a multi-faceted shelter, housing, and support services provider for homeless men, women, and children. In 1987, CSS established our first Single Room Occupancy facility (Columbus Apartments) as a tenant in the old Columbus School in the heart of Little Italy.

As the agency grew and our ability to assist more no or low-income individuals expanded, the agency purchased, renovated, and currently operates the second Single-Room Occupancy facility, the Lodge on Sass in 1998. Collectively, Community Shelter Services operates 96 units of safe, suitable, affordable, and supportive (Section 8) housing for homeless adults.

In 2001, using grant money from the state, the County of Erie, and the Housing Authority of the City of Erie, Community Shelter Services purchased the Columbus Square School building and renovated the first floor, moving our emergency shelter operation to the Columbus Square location at 652 West 17th Street. The shelter now has a capacity to serve 70 persons making us the largest emergency shelter in the Erie area. The facility is staffed 24 hours a day and provides all meals

Using the Erie County Care Management system of 814-SHELTER, CSS participates with other agencies in the area to provide the most appropriate housing for a client’s unique situation and needs. We welcome everyone and are proud to provide a pathway to housing, help, and hope.