Our History

Supporting mental health recovery since 1983

Arch Street Center’s history is a testament to the power of community, compassion, and dedication in addressing the needs of adults living with mental illness in the Lancaster area. In the early 1980s, a group of concerned individuals, including parents, case workers, advocates, and psychiatric professionals, recognized a glaring gap in the mental health care system: the absence of a formal social support structure for adults with mental illness.

Driven by a shared vision of creating a safe and nurturing environment where individuals could bond with peers, express themselves freely, and develop positive relationships without fear of stigma or judgment, the idea for Arch Street Center was born. Securing a space in the basement of a local church, the center opened its doors on September 19, 1983, offering simple amenities such as coffee, snacks, games, occasional field trips, and evening meals.

As the need for its services grew, Arch Street Center embarked on a journey of expansion and evolution. By 2012, it became evident that a dedicated facility was necessary to better serve its members. In June 2014, the center moved into its custom-designed facility, marking a significant milestone in its history.

Today, Arch Street Center continues to be a beacon of hope and support for adults living with mental illness, hosting 25-45 members daily and offering a diverse range of activities and services. From its humble beginnings in two rooms with basic amenities, the center has grown to serve thousands of meals annually and facilitate dozens of activities each month.

Despite these changes, what remains unchanged is Arch Street Center’s unwavering commitment to its mission of helping adults living with mental illness on their recovery journeys. Three and a half decades later, the center remains dedicated to building hope, fostering community, and transforming lives—one member at a time.