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Severe Weather Emergency Shelter (SWES)

SWES Header  

Shelter on the coldest nights

  • 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
  • November 15 to March 15
  • When
    • the temperature is predicted to be 25° F or less factoring in wind chill.
    • conditions include freezing rain, heavy snowfall, severe wind chill factor, etc.
    • the National Weather Service declares a blizzard/emergency weather situation.


Smithfield United Church
620 Smithfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Get Directions to 620 Smithfield Street 

SWES 24-hour Information Line

  • 412-779-1329
  • if the shelter is open that evening
  • hours of operation
  • location

NOTE: This phone line has a pre-recorded message and is not staffed. Messages cannot be left at this number.  


  • All guests must abide by established safety rules.
  • Guests who seem to be dangerous will either not be allowed to come in or be told to leave.
  • On-site security is provided by Allegheny County police.


Monetary donations  

  • On line: www.pmhs.org 
  • By mail: Pittsburgh Mercy Health System Development Office
                 101 Bradford Road, Suite 320
                 Wexford, PA 15090

Please make checks payable to Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and specify that the gift is intended for Operation Safety Net and the Severe Weather Emergency Shelter.

  • By telephone: 724-934-3537 
                          Connie Murray, Executive Director
                          Pittsburgh Mercy Health System Development

In-kind donations

DHS Giving and Volunteering webpage.

About the SWES

Operation Safety Net® – Pittsburgh Mercy Health System’s innovative, award-winning outreach program that serves people who are homeless – manages the shelter, including staffing and supplies for lodging, food, and services; medical and mental health care; and case management, clothing, and support to homeless individuals.

The 11,500 square feet of space in the basement of the church contains a kitchen area, showers, restrooms and a gym floor. Because the shelter is centrally located in downtown Pittsburgh, it is easily accessible for police and fire departments, and outreach workers from other homeless shelters, to bring individuals to the private entrance, if needed, throughout the night. During periods of excessively severe weather conditions, SWES provides a warm shelter to the homeless population who normally live on the streets and do not utilize one of the 12 existing emergency shelters. SWES also provides food, clothing, health care and counseling for homeless individuals.

The SWES is made possible by funding from Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, Operation Safety Net®, the National Emergency Food and Shelter Program, a grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and donations from private groups and individuals. Allegheny County Police, Smithfield United Church of Christ, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, Bethlehem Haven, and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank are important service partners.