History

Serving Philadelphia for 119 years.

Lutheran Settlement House was founded in 1902 as part of the Settlement House Movement, an Industrial Revolution-era movement with the goal of bringing people from all socioeconomic backgrounds together both physically and socially. Settlement Houses across the country, including Lutheran Settlement House, were established to provide basic needs to newly-arrived immigrant communities across the country. Most settlement houses offered education, childcare, food, clothing, and other services all under one roof. 

LSH was originally established to serve the growing population of immigrants arriving in Philadelphia from Southern and Eastern Europe—people who moved to the United States to work in the city’s bustling manufacturing and industrial center, located in Fishtown, Port Richmond, Kensington, and Frankford.  

While our services have changed and developed over the years to meet the changing needs of our community, we have always stayed true to our settlement house roots. Even now, community members come to LSH for food, counseling, adult education courses, senior services, safety from abuse, and so much more.  Just as we welcomed new Americans through our doors over a century ago, we now welcome people of all backgrounds, income levels, races, religions, sexualities, genders, and creeds—ensuring that everyone has the resources and support they need to thrive. 

Lutheran History 
Lutheran Settlement House was founded and sustained for many decades by Lutherans who were looking to live out their faith by working for peace and justice with people living in poverty. While our work is no longer led by Pastors and Deaconesses, we continue to be a proud member agency of the ELCA, grounded in God’s love and forgiveness. While our staff and clients come from many faith backgrounds, or no faith background, we draw strength and inspiration from our Lutheran roots which lead us to treat all people as unique and equal, deserving of dignity and justice.  
 
Lutheran Settlement House is grateful for the support of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod and the donations of time, talent, and treasure from many Lutheran churches and individuals throughout our region.