Water Street Ministries

The information on this page was last updated 5/22/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Water Street is a non-profit Mission located in downtown Lancaster, PA committed to serving the homeless and the hungry. The city campus includes a dining hall, shelter for men, women and children, a computer center, counseling and life-skills coaching.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Water Street Ministries
PO Box 7508
Lancaster, PA 17604-7508

Website: wsm.org

Phone: 717-358-2022

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 236004676

CEO/President: Jack Crowley

Chairman: Diane Poillon

Board size: 13

Founder: Dr. Ezra Sieber and his small group

Ruling year: 1941

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1988


At Water Street Mission - we believe God's good news brings healing and restoration. Each day Water Street seeks to go beyond providing basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. We invite each man, woman, and child to experience restoration in all areas of life, leaving them restored to be restorers to those around them.

In the spirit of Gods word in Isaiah 61, we are called to walk alongside those who are most marginalized in our community, those experiencing homelessness or life at the poverty line.

Mission statement

Our mission is to advance the kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ and to do missionary, relief and rescue work of all kinds.

Statement of faith

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Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Rescue Missions/Homeless Shelters

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating893 of 1112113 of 141
Fund acquisition rating810 of 1113108 of 141
Resource allocation rating863 of 1113103 of 141
Asset utilization rating588 of 111277 of 141

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$872,209$1,433,036$900,831$865,142$431,382
Short-term investments$10,700,121$9,975,810$9,425,216$7,754,097$8,873,030
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$17,336,219$14,927,461$15,556,957$12,478,788$13,267,204
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$8,221,665$8,031,199$7,538,927$7,631,243$6,448,159
Other long-term assets$5,048,177$4,889,285$5,761,522$4,877,507$4,935,727
Total long-term assets$13,269,842$12,920,484$13,300,449$12,508,750$11,383,886
Total assets$30,606,061$27,847,945$28,857,406$24,987,538$24,651,090
Payables and accrued expenses$844,889$722,612$604,722$650,280$665,649
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$844,889$722,612$604,722$650,280$665,649
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$69,070$28,203$28,214$30,489$32,043
Total long-term liabilities$69,070$28,203$28,214$30,489$32,043
Total liabilities$913,959$750,815$632,936$680,769$697,692
Net assets20232022202120202019
Without donor restrictions$24,598,766$22,027,925$22,325,043$19,146,701$17,941,741
With donor restrictions$5,093,336$5,069,205$5,899,427$5,160,068$6,011,657
Net assets$29,692,102$27,097,130$28,224,470$24,306,769$23,953,398
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$14,300,691$13,128,497$11,487,275$10,218,497$9,307,321
Program service revenue$121,028$129,697$89,742$94,519$123,401
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$355,964$415,259$658,133$371,524$173,154
Other revenue$53,647$7,678$201($21,313)$264,080
Total other revenue$530,639$552,634$748,076$444,730$560,635
Total revenue$14,831,330$13,681,131$12,235,351$10,663,227$9,867,956
Program services$9,760,135$9,160,754$7,815,142$7,603,197$7,070,582
Management and general$1,166,367$1,023,508$763,837$814,956$696,627
Total expenses$13,274,429$12,299,905$10,525,722$10,178,046$9,375,334
Change in net assets20232022202120202019
Surplus (deficit)$1,556,901$1,381,226$1,709,629$485,181$492,622
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$1,556,901$1,381,226$1,709,629$485,181$492,622


John CrowleyPresident$166,345
M Colleen AdamsVP of Progra$135,920
Marjorie WilcoxSenior VP of$133,217
Greg KesslerSenior VP of$123,691
Dan SiewertSenior VP of$114,997
Robert KramerSenior VP of$110,823

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2023

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 5/22/2023. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


1905 - The Beginning

In May 1905, Dr. Ezra Sieber and his wife began a small group for folks living in downtown Lancaster to gather together and talk about God's redeeming story. They met in Ms. Sarah Kuhns' row home on the southwest side of the city. During one of the Sunday evening meetings, Ms. Kuhns committed her life to Jesus Christ and began living a changed life.

1910s - Feeding The Hungry

In 1916, the small group grew and began meeting the needs of the homeless and hungry in Lancaster, with the opening of temporary shelter for families. Meals were 10 for those who could pay and free for those who couldn't. This was also the decade when women were provided shelter at the Mission. In 1917, the state of Pennsylvania recognized Water Street Rescue Mission as an official organization. The charter was signed making the purpose of the Mission officially: To advance the Kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ by providing rescue and renewal service in the City and County of Lancaster, PA.

1920s - Sheltering

The roaring 20's were a time of expansion for the Mission. While operating a Mission on Water St. a men's dormitory was established on W. King Street in 1921. In 1926, the Lancaster Intelligencer Newspaper published an article profiling the positive impact of the Mission with this headline: "Lancaster's Place to Go When There is No Other." The U.S. stock market crashes in 1929 beginning the Great Depression.

1930s - Serving The City

Even more than in the first twenty years of service, this decade was marked by giving back to the City of Lancaster. The Mission began handing out baskets of food and other supplies to local families living in poverty in the city, and the first Christmas Dinner was served in 1937.

1940s - Love Your Neighbors

The Mission adopted the motto "No law but love, no creed but Christ" and was also referenced as "your church in overalls working among the down trodden, the poor, the lame, the halt and the blind." In the 1945 Annual Report the Superintendent let readers know that the Mission, "strives to be a real neighbor to the fellow who is in need, regardless of color or creed, young or old, deserving or undeserving, lovely or unlovely-they are all our neighbors, regardless of the condition of social standing, and we should love them as ourselves."

1950s - Expanding To Serve

In 1953, the Mission purchased The Conestoga Cotton Mill at 210 South Prince Street. Plans began for renovating the mill into a full service shelter for the hungry and homeless where men, women and children could come for rescue and renewal.

1960s - South Prince Street

By April 1962, the renovated cotton mill was dedicated as Water Street Rescue Mission. The campus housed a kitchen for the homeless to eat, shelter for sleep, a chapel to worship, and clothing distribution. By the end of the decade, the Mission had taken responsibility of Grace Chapel, a children's ministry. This became Water Street's first youth ministry.

1970s - Future Is Here

During the 70's the Mission letterhead held the tagline, "Preaching the Gospel, Feeding the Hungry, Sheltering the Homeless and Feeding the Needy." In 1975 the mission celebrated 70 years of serving the homeless and the hungry in Lancaster County.

1980s - Reach The Children

In 1981 the Mission provided shelter to a girl for the first time in decades. The vision had always been to open an Emergency Shelter for women, but even before this was ready a father arrived with his daughter and was given a room to stay in. By the mid 80's the Women's Shelter officially opened. This was the decade when the Mission opened the early learning center for Pre-K and Kindergarten children known as Wonder Club and in 1983 a new Thrift Store opened on the campus, which would later become known as the best thrift store in Lancaster county.

1990s - Leading The Way

In 1993, the Mission opened a free medical clinic on campus, under the direction of Dr. Charles "Chip" Mershon, for people living in extreme poverty. The Learning and Career Center opened on campus with the goal to empower Mission residents with the skills necessary to become employed. In addition, Water Street merged its youth ministry, originated in the 50's, with an existing youth outreach for inner city youth called Teen Haven.

2000s - Revitalization

In 2002 Water Street opened the Lydia Center in Wrightsville, PA to provide a recovery program for women. Then in May 2003, the Mission opened the city's first dental clinic for low-income residents. By 2006 Kuhn's Hall renovations were completed, which improved the quality of housing for the homeless. Renovations also expanded Medical, Dental, and Learning.

2010s - Lasting Community

Much growth and change has taken place over the decades in order to provide spiritual, physical, and emotional support for the homeless. Yet, one thing remains the same: the hearts of men, women and children still yearn to experience a life filled with Christ's redeeming love. Here at Water Street there is a continuous commitment to remain true to the beginning; to be "your church in overalls working among the down trodden and the poor... ". Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ every man, woman and child living in poverty will feel rich and whole in God's Kingdom. We continue that which history began.

Program accomplishments

400 Meals Served In our dining hall each day.

3,000+ Medical & Dental Visits At Water Street Health Services each year.

Thousands of Hours Of life-skills courses, counseling, and job training each month.

170+ Guests a Night In our Residential Shelter and Providence Shelter.


You can provide life-changing care to men, women and families experiencing homelessness in Lancaster County and to those who are most at-risk in our community. Your gift provides: hot meals, individualized support, and safe shelter, health care, and more for our most vulnerable neighbors. All of this helps reignite hope for a brighter future.