HEARTH is in the midst of a funding crisis that we are facing due to the actions of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS).
Please let me take a little time to share with you what’s going on and what we’re doing to resolve it.
DHS has withheld $530,629 in U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding earmarked for HEARTH. As such, we’ve been left with no choice but to seek relief in federal court and were forced to file a lawsuit on September 29 against DHS.
At the center of this six-month funding dispute is the DHS interpretation of revised federal HUD guidelines. DHS is the county’s designated Continuum of Care agency, responsible for administering federal funds and leading the county’s efforts to coordinate housing programs and agencies.
In April 2015, DHS issued a determination that HEARTH would be required to admit all families suffering homeless and not just those fleeing domestic violence – which is nearly 95% of who we serve.
HEARTH’s Board of Directors recently updated our mission statement to focus solely on this vulnerable population. HUD officials agreed to HEARTH’s plan, contingent upon receiving a letter of acceptance from DHS.
Despite months of continuing to meet and negotiate in good faith with DHS– including the most recent meetings on September 3 and 17 - HEARTH recently learned that DHS sent a letter to HUD on July 10 denying HEARTH the support it needs to be designated a domestic violence victim service provider.
DHS officials are jeopardizing the 20 years of success we’ve had with mothers and their children. In order to keep servicing our families and continue fulfilling our mission we were left with no choice but to act with the courts.
With the HUD money representing nearly half of our transitional housing operating budget, we will be facing a severe shortfall which we will need to make up through additional private fund raising in order to keep our doors open.
Thank you for your time and continued support of HEARTH.
Judy Eakin, Executive Director
Read an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Read an article from the Associated Press.
Read an article from TribLive.com.
Read an article from Wesa.fm.
Read an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Allegheny County Withholds Federal Funding for Homeless Families
HEARTH forced to file lawsuit in federal court to save assistance to domestic violence victims
PITTSBURGH (September 29, 2015) -- The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) is withholding $530,000 in U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding earmarked for HEARTH, a 20-year-old transitional housing facility for homeless families based in Shaler Township.
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Thank you for attending our event
FROM VOLUNTEER TO WINE & FOOD CHAIRPERSON
Amy Kapusta simply brims with joie de vivre. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. That’s why this year’s premeire HEARTH fund raiser is going to be so much fun. Amy is the chair of this fall’s The Art of Wine and Food event. But that’s not the only volunteer position she has at HEARTH. Some 16 years ago Amy moved back to North Hills from Florida where she had fled to escape our Western Pennsylvania winters. This time she was not alone, but pregnant with her son Tyler and believing that this area was a better place to raise a child than the beaches of the Gulf Coast - better schools, more stable communities, family nearby, etc., she decided she could live with the cold weather.
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Watch and Listen for us Out and About
Sunday, Sept. 6 - Judy Eakin, HEARTH Executive Director, Barb Smith, former Board President and current Board Member and Chef Donato Coluccio appeared on Lynne Hayes-Freelands show at 6 a.m. Judy & Barb discussed the agency's 20th anniversary. See the entire program HERE.
They also talked about The Art of Wine & Food coming up on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 from 6-9 pm at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. See that entire program HERE.
Wednesday, Sept. 9- Victoria Gill was Paul Guggenheimer's guest on 90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh - HEARTH Celebrates 20 Years Helping Homeless Families. Listen the the program HERE.
We are in need of Child Care Volunteers. Please call us at (412) 366-9801 if you are available to assist us with this.
HEARTH's 2015 Dreammakers
The volunteers and staff of HEARTH would like to thank the 2015 Dreammakers listed below for their part in making the dreams of families experiencing homelessness come true.
An individual or an organization that has donated a cumulative amount of $10,000 or more becomes a "Dreammaker" for HEARTH.
Allegheny Financial Group: Allegheny Financial Group said this about becoming a Dreammaker, "It is a great honor to support such a fantastic agency that is truly making the difference in these families' lives. Providing funds is one thing, but carrying out the dream is what HEARTH does every day." The company was drawn to HEARTH after learning about the agency's philosophy of helping Program Participants help themselves and that their successes contribute to the betterment of society as a whole. That through their mission, the cycle of homelessness is broken when children see their parent succeed.
The Grable Foundation: The Grable Foundation partners with organizations that support children and youth. HEARTH's dedication to provide housing and other services for families experiencing homelessness fits well with Grable's mission. HEARTH continues to meet an important need in our county, offering a lifeline to families in crisis. The Grable Foundation is honored to play a role in HEARTH's work over time, helping them develop renewed hope for their own lives and futures. The foundation is grateful for all those who have offered their time and resources to help HEARTH continue to provide vital services for women and children in our region.
Northern Allegheny Rotary Club: Through networking and connecting, the Northern Allegheny Rotary Club began donating to HEARTH in 2004. After hearing and learning more about what the agency does and their dedication to provide families, "hand up not a hand out", the Club knew they needed to support the agency right in their backyard. Since that time, their support of HEARTH has grown. The Club now comes every Holiday season to run the Santa Shoppe so the kids at HEARTH can give their family members fabulous gifts to open. Not only that, but Wayne Skelley, our Maintenance Director, roped them into refurbishing our Pavilion, which now serves as a picnic area and gardening space for our families.
Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation Fund: After touring the agency's new facility, speaking with HEARTH's staff and hearing the families speak so highly of the opportunity that was being offered to them, the Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation Fund wanted nothing more than to support a mission so unique and inspiring. The Fund is proud to be associated with a strong agency that has a significant commitment from its clients and donors, as well as a dedicated staff and board.
In the News
Shaler-based organization offers help for single mothers
For single mothers in need, HEARTH's HOMES program has been providing a helping hand up for nearly 20 years. “We like to say we provide a hand up, not a handout,” said Vicky Gill, HEARTH communications and community outreach manager.
Great Gift Ideas - and your purchase will benefit HEARTH
Purchase Platters and Pins for gifts. The platters are offered by Contemporary Concepts, 15% of the proceeds benefit HEARTH. House Pins are unique, handmade pins depicting houses and other themes made by Designs By Lucinda, whose owner Lucinda Yates overcame poverty and homelessness. For more information about these gift ideas, click the links below.