Arch Street Center History

Arch Street Center’s continuing mission is to support the recovery of adults living with serious mental illness by providing social, moral and material support, recreational and hygiene facilities and fresh, nutritious meals in a safe, nurturing environment. We currently have around 300 members and serve approximately 45 individuals daily, or nearly 16,500 meals annually. Although there are other places in the city to find a meal there is only one place to find integrated services all year long.

Arch Street Center operates as a membership-based, voluntary drop-in program. We have no mandatory requirements for attendance and program participation but instead gently encourage members to participate to the extent they feel most comfortable. As new members forge connections with other members and staff they gradually expand their participation until Arch Street Center becomes a positive and empowering part of their daily routine.

Peer support is at the core of mental health recovery principals. Arch Street Center provides a safe, judgment-free environment where members can feel safe expressing themselves, make and foster friendships and discuss their daily challenges, hopes and dreams. The members themselves become their own social support network, often filling a painful void left by family connections previously lost. Members at risk for social withdrawal, discrimination, employment limitations, homelessness and financial instability can find solace, encouragement, friendship, moral and material support through the connections they make at Arch Street Center.

The need for Arch Street was determined in 1983. Parents, case managers, therapists, and mental health advocates realized that individuals with mental illness in our community needed a place to belong and spend time with peers in a safe environment. They began meeting, planning, and searching for a location. A partnership with St. John’s Lutheran Church was formed and Arch Street Center’s doors opened in September of 1983. For 31 years Arch Street Center was located in the basement of the church.

  • Arch Street Center first opened in September, 1983 in the basement of St. John Lutheran Church.
  • Only one meal per day was offered. It was typically prepared in a crock pot.
  • The Center hours were very limited to a few hours in the evenings.

In the ’90’s, the program continued to grow. Through grants from the Lancaster County Foundation, Arch Street Center was able to do some construction to the Center and add an office, a storage room, and secure a 15 passenger van.

The church granted us access to the kitchen, so we were able to increase our meal offerings.

In 2013, the board and staff of Arch Street Center began looking for a new location for the Center. After hearing that the church was noticing a decline in membership, it was decided that we should go on our own and find our new home.

In July 2014, after a lengthy capital campaign, Arch Street Center moved to its current location at 629 North Market Street. This larger, more flexible space has allowed us to greatly expand our programs and services. The current Center includes a large kitchen, a bright community dining area, a game room with a pool table, foosball and air hockey, two television lounges, a bank of computers and both laundry and shower facilities. These expanded services offer more and better opportunities to serve a larger membership base and to partner with other mental health organizations for community service and outreach efforts.

Arch Street Center has been in our Market Street location since July of 2014. Since we’ve been at this location, our attendance has increased, as well as what we are able to offer to our membership.

  • The Center now has a washer and dryer that the members can utilize
  • There is a private shower
  • We have a locker room so they can store their belongings while they are visiting the Center
  • A large open game room
  • An outdoor area with a small garden

Tour of Center

Check out the tour of our new center!

Pictures of Center

Click on the link to see pictures from our old location to our new Market Street location!


Want to meet the great people that work at Arch Street?


Meet the members of our Board of Directors.

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