History

Our roots can be traced back to 1888 when the Erie United Methodist Episcopal Alliance formed as pastoral fellowship and eventual outreach.  Today, we serve more than 2,400 adults and children each year through emergency and transitional shelters, on-the-street outreach program, and assistance with clothing and necessities.  Listed below are a few highlights in our agency’s history.

1960    Established South East Erie Ministries (SEEM) to house pre-school and to outreach to public housing units.

1970    Clothing bank/thrift shop established at Henderson United Methodist Church.

1974    EUMA received 501 © (3) status.

1984    The Refuge Shelter established for abused women and children.  San Juan Hispanic Outreach program established.

1985    Old gas station on Buffalo Road purchased and turned into The Rainbow Connection Thrift Store.

1989    The Refuge’s focus changed from an abused women shelter to a homeless family shelter.

1992    1027 East 26th Street purchased to expand The Refuge.

1998    Store display area doubled by addition to The Rainbow Connection.

1999    The Refuge purchases property next door and expands to 7 bedrooms capable of housing 28 people.

2000    EUMA receives grant from HUD to administer Project Hope.  Outreach and referral services to the homeless begins.

2001    Liberty House, a 10-bed transitional house for Veterans, opens on West 7th Street.

2001    Hope House, a four-apartment transitional unit for families with children, opens adjacent to The Refuge.

2001    HITS (Homeless Intake Tracking System), a computerized system to provide demographic information and an unduplicated count of the homeless population in Erie County, begins to collect and provide data. HITS will eventually come to be known as HMIS.

2003    Large sorting and storage area added to The Rainbow Connection.

2014    Cheryl Davis steps down as Executive Director.  Kurt B. Crays begins tenure as new Executive Director.

2014     Healthcare for the Homeless Partnership is added to EUMA's roster of mission services.

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