Homeless Services



Bell Family Shelter opened in 1986 and remains York County’s only 30-day emergency shelter serving homeless families.

Many of the families served by the Shelter find themselves homeless because of insufficient income, job loss or poor housing conditions. As a safe, temporary place with supportive services, staying at the Shelter helps families navigate the challenges of homelessness and regain their independence.

Bell Family Shelter’s eleven-bedroom facility houses as many as forty people per night (about half of whom are under the age of 12) and provides all the basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. 

When families arrive at the Shelter doorstep they often require more than just a safe place to sleep for the night. Throughout their stay with us they meet with service and supports coordinators to build a personalized family goal plan to help them regain and maintain independent living in the community.

Intensive guidance sessions, workshops and classes help people learn budgeting and parenting skills, offer assistance to secure permanent housing and job placement, and provide access to a network of community resources.

The Shelter’s staff support helps many families secure permanent housing in fewer than 20 days. Most of the families (89%) utilizing the Shelter never need to access emergency housing again.

The Shelter is open  365 days/nights a year and accepts drug-free couples or single parents with children, couples in long-standing relationships, and single women who have been residents of York County for at least 60 days.

Mothers and fathers receive assistance to improve budgeting and parenting skills as well as access to other community resources to help them get back on their feet.

Nutritious meals are provided family style in the shelter dining area every day. Staff provides guidance to help instill healthy eating habits families can take with them.

Activities and traditional holiday celebrations are offered throughout the year to offer families a chance to interact together and feel a sense of home.

How can you help?

Consider an Adopt-a-Day or Adopt-an-Hour contribution or check out OUR WISHLIST and organize a gathering of in-kind donations or share your time as a volunteer.



Bell Bridge Housing is a rehabilitative housing program which allows a longer-term option (up to one year for qualified candidates), providing more time for homeless families to hone basic living skills, getting them on track for successful independent living. 

Qualifying participants must meet the definition of homelessness, have an income, not require  a drug/alcohol treatment program or been convicted of a violent crime, and  demonstrate a desire to accomplish goals they establish working with staff.

 Individualized support services include budget counseling that encourages debt payment and savings, educational workshops, and referral services to other community agencies.

The Bridge Housing program utilizes eight apartment units in York City and two single room occupancy units on the third floor of Bell Family Shelter.

The Bell Bridge Housing Program is funded through the Department of Public Welfare/Housing Assistance Program to assist homeless families of York County in establishing permanent housing. The Bridge Children’s Program also receives funding from the United Way of York County.