Help Us Save the Legacy of St. Joseph’s Hospital

The Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee (HRC) of Put People First! PA was unable to prevent the closing of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster hospital (St. Joseph’s hospital) but that didn’t stop them from continuing to organize around this issue. Once the hospital was closed the Lancaster HRC began the “Take Back St. Joseph’s” campaign and utilized the hospital’s history, personal and spiritual connection to the community to gain support, build the membership of the movement and develop a redevelopment vision of their own.

Right now, we are asking for a stay on the rezoning petition being proposed by UPMC to rezone the property from a Hospital Complex Zone (HC) to a Mixed Use zone (MU). The petition has gone through the City Planning Commission and the Lancaster County Planning Commission with contingencies such as services for the homeless and children be a part of that development project.

As of February, the rezoning petition could come up for a vote at a Lancaster City Council meeting at any time, depending on how quickly it moves to the appropriate Committee. After it goes to Committee we can keep pushing back for delays and delay petition a month at a time or it goes to City Council for a vote right away.

Through a stay on rezoning, we want to preserve the Hospital Complex zone so we have an opportunity to organize and see that the vision for redevelopment comes to fruition. We need to get the four votes for a ‘NO’ to give us a better chance to see Put People First! PA’s redevelopment vision come to fruition.

According to Put People First! PA’s research for a Moral Audit for Lancaster County (which will be published within the year,) more than half the population of Lancaster City (51.90%) is either living in poverty or one $400 emergency away from living in poverty. In nearby Columbia, the percentage is 41.33% and the percentage in Ephrata has risen from 31.46% to 35.46% in a year. These percentages show the percentage of the population that is SEVERELY struggling right now and we must also take into consideration that the percentage of the population above that is not far behind us.

The vision for St. Joseph’s would serve the majority of Lancaster and includes the following:

  • A Medical Clinic
  • A Dental Clinic
  • A Homeless shelter with a family space with activities for children
  • A government entity that would manage the people getting help from resources, directing them to resources, assistance in applying for benefits, especially making sure we have people that can help with any language barriers

We want to ensure that the land which sits St. Joseph’s hospital continues to serve the population it has always served.

PPF-PA’s research and outreach in the community are what led to the vision for the redevelopment of the old St. Joseph’s hospital property. Lancaster City Government seems to think that the neighborhood surrounding the St. Joseph’s hospital property should have precedence over the development project and seem to be negating the fact that it was a HOSPITAL that was lost which affected the ENTIRE county.

THIS project should not be a “business as usual” development project! The land which sits St. Joseph’s hospital MUST be developed in a way that best fits the community’s NEEDS and NOT be developed to suit a small portion of the population.

We are not only willing to take on UPMC for the good of the working-class community, we also have grounds to do so and we told the City Administration that fight the rezoning petition being proposed by UPMC then PPF-PA will support them.

If we agree to rezone that property now, UPMC will sell it to the developer that is waiting instead of community resources, we’ll get unaffordable townhouses and boutiques! Once the property is rezoned from an HC to MU zone, it will rise in value and UPMC will gain a huge profit.

We are asking for the Lancaster City Government to deny the rezoning petition being proposed by UPMC so WE have time to find a developer, solidify the plan and continue to organize and gain support. We will continue to organize, and take on UPMC to make sure PPF-PA’s vision comes to fruition but it can only happen if the City Government decides against rezoning at this time.

We continue to gain support in this fight to “Save the Legacy of St. Joseph’s hospital” and the best support has come from the people in Put People First! PA and the many leaders from across Pennsylvania and various states across this nation who are a part of the Poor People’s Campaign a National Call for Moral Revival. We CAN do this! We CAN come together and see the vision for redevelopment comes to fruition but it can only happen if the Lancaster, PA City Government votes against the rezoning petition being proposed by UPMC. Join us!

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There is a way you can all help us counteract the disinformation going around about the fight to “Save the Legacy of St. Joseph’s Hospital” as well as hold UPMC accountable for their actions from across Pennsylvania and demand a more just healthcare system.

Sign up to join Put People First! PA at and or write a Letter to the Editor in your local paper, the Post Gazette and to Lancaster Newspapers showing your support of the fight and the greater fight for a more just healthcare system for us all, I encourage you to share your story about how you or your community has been hurt by UPMC.

PA-PPC: A National Call for Moral Revival is a movement led by the poor, demanding an end to poverty, racism, militarism & ecological devastation.