Shelter, a safe place, and a purpose in life. That's what just about everyone strives to have.

A decades old building in East Erie is called a blessing to those inside.

It is a home with humble rooms, a kitchen, and love.

It is the Mercy Center for Women, started by the Sisters of Mercy in the 1980s. 

"As the need grew larger in the Erie community the sisters had the opportunity to purchase this building which is a former convent and that was in 1994," said Jennie Hagerty. "Now we house between 28 and 34 women and children." 

Jennie Hagerty is the Executive Director.

"Our mission is to house women and children who are fleeing an abusive situation, they are in addiction recovery or they are homeless," said Jennie. "We provide the programming and services that are necessary for one year to build their self esteem their financial literacy their parenting skills to get them to that next step which is permanent housing." 

Many programs are in-house thanks to various partnerships in the community.

There's a waiting list for the safe, secure environment where a house manager oversees operations.

The women here are called clients. 

"Now I will have the ability to train for as career," said a Client. "To put myself in a better place for the future." 

This anonymous clients said she has forged deep bonds with the other women as they grow each day. 

"I am also working on some of the troubles that have been in my past," said the Client. 

February 20th is a big day for the Mercy Center for Women because it was on that day in 2020 that they purchased the building right behind.

That is the former Holy Rosary School. Inside they'll be able to expand their reach where there's newly furnished and unfurnished units for more women and families to help.

The new Mercy Anchor Community Center will be a transition site, those who graduate from the current Mercy building can lease a unit with assistance, along with others in the community.

"That will include 13 two bedroom apartments along with wrap around services in health care a food pantry social service education and job readiness program," said Jennie. 

There's a room to prep for GED's, and study area for both moms and children.

"There's always waiting for people to help you," the Client said. "You just have to take the first step." 

The new units are in collaboration with a host of community partners. They are expected to be open on February 20th.