The Phoenixville Non-Profit Creating Opportunities for People in Need
On a hot day in the “heart” of Phoenixville’s downtown area, you’ll find non-profit volunteers hard at work assisting people in need. Within the walls of the former Sacred Heart Church, volunteers of Ann’s Heart are managing human services you may not know to exist. Ann’s Heart is an organization with “a mission to provide a place of welcome and human services to all Phoenixville area people.”
In May 2022, Ann’s Heart expanded its services to help people during Code Red days. Code Red is a policy from the Department of Homeless Services enacted to provide emergency services on extremely hot days. The new branch of the non-profit is called the Center of Emergency Resources at Ann’s Heart.
Center of Emergency Resources at Ann’s Heart (CERAH)
For the average person, hot days require us to turn down our air conditioning. It’s a subtle privilege that most of us take for granted. For somebody experiencing homelessness, the luxury of AC isn’t available. Thankfully, CERAH is in place to assist individuals with a place to cool off.
On 95-degree–or hotter–days, people in need can experience an oasis of air conditioning and shade at CERAH. There’s also an area to maintain hygiene, such as showers and laundry units. However, the organization goes above and beyond a typical shelter.
CERAH is an all-encompassing hub for those seeking assistance. The center partners with several local non-profits and businesses to supply individuals with the services they need.
The organization partnered with Project Healing Hive to assist all walks of life that enter the doors. Since these individuals are experiencing hardship, they are able to speak to a counselor at no charge–all within their newly renovated counseling office.
It’s not unheard of to need emergency case assistance, and CERAH provides the opportunity for people in need to speak to a coordinator. The ability to help people right away and continue ongoing support is key to building relationships with those in need.
Another vital aspect of the non-profit is the effort to place individuals in housing. As simple as it sounds, there are complexities that can cause roadblocks for coordinators and individuals. Karin Williams, Program Director at CERAH, says, “The current housing market is making it hard to find affordable housing for individuals in need.” It’s a roadblock that requires support and good relationships with area housing facilities. Additionally, the organization partners with Open Hearth, which assists in housing, transportation, and financial management resources.
The non-profit volunteers are continuously building relationships to navigate past roadblocks and get necessities for their people under their supervision. They are able to get food bags from a familiar organization in Phoenixville. Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS), is a local food pantry that supplies the center with meals for people experiencing homelessness. They also get personal care items and more from Better Days Ahead. It’s an effort from multiple organizations and people passionate about providing human services.
Although the center has notable partnerships, it still runs on volunteers and donations. You can visit the site to find out what they accept and how you can support the organization. Visit annsheart.org to find out more.
The center will continue to operate with the resources provided by other organizations and donations. The organization is looking forward to operating during Code Blue days as well. Essentially, it’s the opposite of Code Red days–extremely cold temperatures.
Ann’s Heart is woven into the Phoenixville community in a variety of ways. The emergency center is another form of community support that gives individuals hope. You may not realize that people experiencing homelessness can be of any age. The non-profit center experiences individuals as young as 2 and as old as 90 in need of assistance. The volunteers for CERAH are doing their best to create opportunities for people who find their way to 146 Church Street.
If you or anyone you know in the Phoenixville area is experiencing homelessness, please call or text: (484) 393-2583. You can email CERAH at the email address: email@example.com.