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The need for Arch Street Center became clear in the early 1980’s when parents, case workers, advocates and psychiatric professionals realized the mental health care system in Lancaster lacked any formal social support structure. They envisioned a dedicated center for adults with mental illness to bond with peers in a safe, nurturing environment. Where individuals could freely express themselves and develop lasting and positive personal relationships, devoid of stigma and judgement. A space in the basement of a local church was secured and Arch Street Center was born. We opened our doors on September 19, 1983, offering coffee, snacks, games, occasional field trips, and a small evening meal.
By 2012, it became clear we needed a building of our own, and in June of 2014 moved into the bright, custom-designed facility in use today. Currently, we host 25-45 members daily, offer 45-60 activities per month, and serve approximately 18,000 meals annually. It’s quite a change from the original two rooms, coffee urn and crock-pot meals, and a handful of board games and jigsaw puzzles, but what hasn’t changed is our deep commitment to helping adults living with mental illness on their recovery journeys. Three and a half decades later we’re still building hope and transforming lives one member at a time.