The Amherst Survival Center was started in 1976 in response to a growing phenomenon of poverty and homelessness in western Massachusetts. Increasing unemployment, cuts in welfare spending, and the closing of institutional state facilities with the subsequent transfer of residents into the community were major factors that contributed to this growing population. As they had historically, people in need turned to the local churches. The response was forthcoming, as had been in the past. But by 1978 the complexity and duration of the situation was apparent, and at a meeting at town hall the Amherst Survival Center was created in response to this need. Initially, it consisted of a telephone and storage space in the basement of a house, thereafter moving to Jones Library. Five months later the Town of Amherst provided space in the brick school at North Amherst Center, where it grew and expanded its program in the 34 years it was housed there.
After a highly successful capital campaign, led by Cheryl Zoll (ASC former Executive Director), Jan Eidelson (former President of the ASC Board of Directors), their Capital Campaign Committee, and joined by the unprecedented support and enthusiasm of dozens of volunteers and over 700 business and individual donors, the Amherst Survival Center raised the funds to construct a new building to house its services.
In December 2012, the Amherst Survival Center moved into it’s new home at 138 Sunderland Road. You can read more about this extraordinary community effort in our Capital Campaign Report.
“Thanks to the campaign, we now have a building that is large, efficient and suited to our programs. We’ve also brought ourselves, and everyone we serve, out of the basement into the light. The new, above-ground Center reflects hope, aspiration and care. As a more visible presence, we hope to be a reminder not just of existing hardships, but of the positive impact that we can have when we come together.” ~ Jan Eidelson, former President of the ASC Board of Directors.
In 2016, the Amherst Survival Center celebrates its 40th anniversary in our community.
Click below to read our Capital Campaign Report which documents the effort to build our building at 138 Sunderland Road in North Amherst, Massachusetts.