Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering, Inc. (BES) operates an emergency shelter which is open every night, November 15th to April 15th.
BES policies and procedures have been created to be in accordance with city, county, state, and federal regulations. Shelter rules have been implemented for the safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, and visiting service providers.
Shelter doors open at 5 PM and will close after 8 PM. Guests will not be allowed entrance AFTER 8 PM unless they have made prior arrangements with the Shelter Manager or have police escort. Guests are asked to not congregate outside the shelter before 4:45 PM. Guest admittance to the shelter is on the Walnut Street side of the building. Everyone entering the building is required to wear a mask and adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
BES bed capacity is 70 beds per night. Beds may not be held or reserved in advance of a Guest’s stay at shelter. Beds are assigned on a first arrived, first assigned basis. Beds will be held for Guests who stay at the shelter the following night until 8 PM, at that time the bed may be assigned to other individuals seeking shelter.
Dinner is provided in two shifts every night from 5:30 PM to 7:15 PM, with a break for disinfecting of the dining hall between shifts. Showers are available if volunteers are present. Partner service providers are accessible at the shelter during the weeknights. List of visiting partner service providers will be posted on the Service Provider Calendar in the shelter.
Guests are woken at 6 AM every day and are required to leave the premises by 7 AM. Guests are offered a bagged breakfast every day as they leave the facility.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If I have a record, will I be turned away?
The purpose of the voucher is to ensure Guests with open warrants for violent offenses or those registered on Megan’s Law do not enter the premises. We require guests with open minor offenses to work towards a resolution to better their situation and have a higher chance of success for housing.
I work and might not arrive before 8 PM, can I still stay?
Guests with employment must provide an official copy of work schedule and contact information from their employer to the Shelter Manager if they are unable to arrive before 8 PM or need to leave the premises before 6 AM.
Do I have to stay at the shelter all night after I complete registration?
Guests may not leave the premises once they have completed registration until 6 AM the following day.
What can I bring with me?
Guests may bring up to 2 bags of personal belongings with them when they arrive at shelter. They may not bring food items, drugs, weapons, or alcohol. BES is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
I don’t want to carry everything around with me. Can I leave a bag at the shelter since I will be returning tomorrow?
Guests may leave items on their bunk if they plan to return the next day. A tote is also provided for each guest to store personal items. Items not placed in the tote or on a guest’s bunk are subject to removal.
I have a dog that goes with me everywhere, can I stay at shelter?
Pets are not allowed in the shelter. A pet may be fostered during a Guest's stay at shelter through an affiliate organization.
Can I smoke?
No tobacco or other nicotine products may be used inside the facility at any time. Guests are allowed to utilize smoke breaks. Guests must be let out by staff and return to the building by staff at designated smoking times and areas. Guests may not smoke in groups larger than 2 and must maintain social distancing. Guests are encouraged to meet with service providers to seek nicotine cessation services.
I have a car, where can I park?
BES does not offer onsite parking. Guests with vehicles will need to utilize street parking or a city parking garage.
I have food restrictions, what can I eat?
BES does not allow outside food in the building to ensure cleanliness of the bunk areas. BES makes an effort to have available a variety of nutritious meals provided by our volunteers. If a guest reports a dietary restriction, BES will make efforts to provide alternatives such as a vegetarian or gluten-free option.
Further questions or concerns, please contact the shelter phone at 484-379-6694 or email us here.
BES accepts adults, 18 years and older, who identify themselves as homeless. Adults must be able to navigate multiple flights of stairs and independently care for themselves due to the construction of the facility in the historic district of Bethlehem. BES is not able to provide shelter to minors under 18 years of age. Individuals presenting at shelter who are unable to meet the above criteria will be assisted by BES through contacting City and County authorities for assistance.
Shelter Guests are required to obtain a voucher from the Bethlehem Police Station located at 10 E. Church Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018.