HEARTH’s D.C. Testimony Covered in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Natalie Bencivenga of the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette covered HEARTH’s involvement with the June 6th House Financial Services Committee meeting in Washington, D.C.

The subcommittee on housing and insurance presented testimony about a legislative proposal to help break down barriers that prevent homeless children and youth from obtaining housing assistance and services through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As a member of the National Coalition for Homelessness Solutions, HEARTH submitted its testimony to U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, and had those remarks entered into the record.

Click here to read the article.

HEARTH’s open letter to Snapchat

An open letter to Snapchat,

This week HEARTH has been busy preparing for our fundraiser, ‘Hops for HEARTH.’ This event is put on by our Associate Board, a group of passionate and dedicated young professionals from the Greater Pittsburgh Area. This enthusiastic group of volunteers keeps HEARTH moving forward with the times, specifically utilizing various social media platforms to spread our message, “A Safe Place Matters.” HEARTH staff, our Board of Directors, and our Associate Board were absolutely appalled when we woke up this past Friday to see the news regarding Snapchat’s inability to police their ads. HEARTH was hoping that more than an apology would have been done by now. We will not be using a Snapchat filter or their app at this Friday’s event.

HEARTH takes this negligence very seriously. The ad for the new “Would You Rather” app, which referenced the 2009 domestic violence case regarding Rihanna and Chris Brown should have never made it past Snapchat’s screening process. We are asking that Snapchat work with agencies that serve domestic violence survivors to re-evaluate acceptable terms used in this process in accordance with those organizations’ verbiage. A public apology is not enough; apologies are what domestic violence victims hear from their abusers every day. HEARTH calls on Snapchat to do more. “Snap Chat reaches and has influence over a lot of young teens and adults so they should know better than to send out such a terrible message with that ad” – Kristen Moss, HEARTH Associate Board Secretary.

We ask that Snapchat recognize this egregious error by donating to and supporting causes that aid domestic violence victims. There are a plethora of measures we ask Snapchat take to become a leader in the fight for domestic violence survivors:

  1. Set up a scholarship fund that helps prior victims apply for and enter schooling or job training.
  2. Free advertisement for organizations like HEARTH that build up survivors.
  3. Partner with organizations on their social media platforms on key messages geared at eliminating the stigma many survivors face as well as promoting next steps for survivors once they leave their abuser.

“Mistakes happen. This “Would You Rather” ad was obviously a mistake.  BUT, an apology is not enough.  We call on Snapchat to back up their words with actions – support survivors of Domestic Violence and give this subject the dignity it deserves”  – Judith Eakin, HEARTH executive director.

Most importantly, we also ask that they refuse to support the “Would You Rather” app, their developers, and those associated in the future.  “Domestic violence is not funny.  It is never okay to hurt another person and it is never appropriate to position a prior domestic violence situation as a joke in a game” – Mike DiChiazza, HEARTH President, Board of Directors.

HEARTH would like to thank Rihanna for standing up to Snapchat and for continuing to support and bring light to other domestic violence survivors like the women living at HEARTH. It is very easy to talk the talk, but we have found it is much harder for companies like Snapchat to walk the walk. We hope that Snapchat will take our outrage as a community seriously and strive to support causes that improve the lives of women, not further endanger them.

Child Care Volunteers Needed!

We are looking for child care volunteers!
Requirements:

must be at least 13 years old.
Twice per month from about 6:45 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
There is a brief training. 

This is a great way for students to complete service hours!

If you are interested please contact volunteer coordinator Vicky Gill @ vlgill@hearth-bp.org

HEARTH’S Annual The Art of Wine & Food – Thursday, October 5, 2017

Presented by Allegheny Financial Group-

Celebrate families creating a better future for themselves by joining us at the 16th Annual Art of Wine and Food! Guests have the opportunity to taste over 30 wines and sample food from the area’s best restaurants and caterers… all while talking with friends, playing in the museum’s exhibits, and bidding on great silent auction items!

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

VIP Guests- SOLD OUT. Includes exclusive wine tastings, admission at 5:30 PM, preferred parking, a souvenir wine glass, and passed hors d’oeuvres compliments of Myrna’s Catering.
Regular Guests- $60. Includes a souvenir wine glass and admission at 6 PM.

 

Only One Week until #SafetyNetPGH

Only one week left until #SafetyNetPGH. On Tuesday, May 23rd, starting at 8am, your donation to HEARTH will receive a prorated matched from a $600,000 pool created by The Pittsburgh Foundation and its donors. 8am – 11:59pm. One day only.

It’s easy to donate:
1. Visit www.pittsburghgives.org on Tuesday, May 23rd, between 8am – 11:59pm
2. Search for HEARTH
3. Enter a donation between $25 – $1,000

Celebrating 20 years of, “Opening Doors” as Executive Director

Judy Eakin has made an enormously positive impact on homelessness in the Pittsburgh community while serving as Executive Director of HEARTH for the past 20 years.

In 1995, HEARTH began “Opening Doors for Families in Crisis”. In October 1996, Judy Eakin became the Executive Director. Ms. Eakin’s passion for the mission, hard work and exceptional leadership has enabled her to build a highly effective organization that has truly transformed the lives of families fleeing domestic violence and experiencing homelessness.

Since opening, HEARTH’s transitional housing program has been a beacon of light for not only for victims of domestic violence, women with mental health issues and women recovering from substance abuse but their children as well. Ms. Eakin’s strong programmatic knowledge and ability to motivate and inspire staff members and volunteers has created a program with unduplicated success.

In 2009 under Ms. Eakin’s leadership, the agency expanded from providing transitional housing to opening the first permanent affordable housing program in Northern Allegheny County, HEARTH at Benet Woods and operating a permanent housing program for homeless mothers with disabilities called P.R.I.D.E. – Providing Residents the opportunity for Independence, Dignity and Economic stability. Both of these programs were created to address unmet needs in the community.

For it’s first 16 years, HEARTH operated out of St. Benedict’s Hall in Ross Township, leasing space from the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh. In the fall of 2009, Ms. Eakin learned the sisters had placed the property on the market and HEARTH would need to find a new home by June of 2011. Ms. Eakin began a strategic planning process with the Board of Directors to discuss HEARTH’s future. After searching for months, Ms. Eakin suggested they look at property in Shaler Township. A large main building had been used for human service programs in the past and the location met all programming requirements. Trek Development agreed to work with Ms. Eakin using the good bones of the building and morphing it into HEARTH’s needs.

Within 9 months, $5.9 million in government funding had been secured but the government funding was not enough. HEARTH needed to raise an additional $1.5 million of private funds to complete the project and cover administrative costs. Once again, Ms. Eakin pulled together a team, this time, a capital campaign team to meet the private funding goal. HEARTH’s past programming success and Ms. Eakin’s persuasive communication skills were instrumental in HEARTH securing $1.4 million in pledges toward the capital campaign in just 18 months.

Less than two years after leaving its home of 16 years and moving to temporary quarters, HEARTH moved into a permanent home of its own. The building can now serve 20 families, five more that in its previous location.

What at first seemed to be a nightmare for the agency turned into a dream, in no small part due to Ms. Eakin’s efforts. She has lead, inspired, comforted, and reassured the staff, the Board of Directors and the families in HEARTH’s program during each situation. Including the current situation facing HEARTH – the loss of federal funding.

It is because of her, the agency moved into a permanent location, never to be evicted again. It is because of her, the agency moved from serving 15 families to 20. It is because of her, staff has remained employed with the agency. It is because of her tireless efforts, HEARTH will continue “Opening Doors for Families in Crisis,” for many years to come. It is because of her, HEARTH will overcome the loss of federal funding and will come out stronger than ever.

Former President of the Board of Directors, current Board Member and long time HEARTH friend Barb Smith has said, “Without Judy’s drive, leadership and plain old hard work, homeless families would not have the opportunity to transform their lives.”

You’re Invited to . . .

HEARTH’s Spring Shower
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
6:30 p.m. at HEARTH

– Learn more about HEARTH in their mission to provide supportive services and housing to empower homeless families who are survivors of domestic violence.
– Listen to a HEARTH Program Participant tell her story about how HEARTH has made a positive change in her life and the lives to her children.
– Tour the facility to see how HEARTH provides temporary homes and support for the families
Find out how you can get involved to help HEARTH with its mission

As a “Shower Gift”, we are asking attendees to donate specific items that are currently needed to prepare apartments for new HEARTH residents. Registry is listed below.

Please RSVP in order to ensure seating for all our guests. Please contact Anne Mlecko at (724) 940-3314 or mamlecko@hotmail.com with questions, more information or to RSVP.

Spring Shower Donations

Please purchase items on this list (any amount in any quantity) and bring them to the Spring Shower on May 16 at 6:30 p.m. If you cannot attend, you can still participate; we’d be happy to make other arrangements for you to deliver the items.

NOTE: Due to limited storage space, we ask that you kindly, only donate items on this list.

• Laundry basket
• Full cotton mattress pad
• Set of full sheets (for women only)
• Set of twin sheets (for boy or girl)
• Set of plastic drinking cups for kids
• Small bathroom trashcan
• Sponge mop
• Twin cotton mattress pad
• 2 trivets
• Plunger

If you’d like to add a few miscellaneous items, below are some additional, lower priority items needed at HEARTH:

• Folding shopping cart
• Full bed blanket (for women only)
• Ice cube tray
• Silverware tray (no more than 12” wide)
• Sugar bowl
• Tea kettle
• Toaster
• Tongs
• Toothbrush holder
• Twin bed blanket (for boy or girl)
• Twin zippered plastic mattress protector
• Whisk

Thank you for supporting the families at HEARTH!

The HEARTH Designer Wine Bag Project

ALL NEW!  Available at our Purses with a Purpose event!

One of our dedicated volunteers, Susan Mucha, has come up with a beautiful idea to help HEARTH. She has been busy coordinating volunteers with sewing skills, including herself, and finding fabrics to create designer wine bags.

Volunteers are busy making fantastic bags, each one unique. The varied fabrics have been donated by Loom Fabric in the Strip District. All material and work is 100% donated, which means 100% of the money collected for these goes directly to HEARTH.

These will be available for $20 each at the Purses with a Purpose event on Sunday, December 4, 2016. Our goal is to have 100 wine bags available for purchase. You can’t beat the cost of something so unique and creative. If you are coming to this event, consider buying one for yourself. Plus these are a great gift idea!

We are working on plans to make these available at future events in 2017, and possibly at HEARTH.  More information to come. We are excited about this new opportunity and give kudos to Susan for inventing and coordinating such a great project!

Scroll down to see many sample of these wine bags, more fabrics that will be made into bags, and the work in progress.  If you want to volunteer to help, please contact Vicky Gill at vlgill@hearth-bp.org. Thank you for your support!

wine-bags-hanging-web
stack-of-fabricpink-and-red-bags velvet-bags wine-bags-details wine-bags-in-the-works rows-of-wine-bags 4-wine-bags2-leopard-bagslots-of-bags

Recapping 2016’s The Art of Wine & Food

Oh what a “wine-o-licious” night it was! This year’s event grossed more then $60,000 for the families at HEARTH fleeing domestic violence and experiencing homelessness. Please visit our Facebook page to view photos from the event taken by Gary Zak. Thank you to everyone who came out to support HEARTH. We can’t wait until next year!