HEARTH’S Annual The Art of Wine & Food – 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- $100. 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.

Purchase by Friday, September 8 at 3 PM and save $10 on regular and $15 on VIP admission!

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!

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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!

FAQs About Recent Funding – Get the Full Story

As Allegheny County’s Homeless Advisory Board votes to eliminate funding, you may have a lot of questions about how this all relates to HEARTH.

We can assure you we are doing everything in our power to continue advocating for the families in our program, to provide safe transitional housing and to continue to open door for families in crisis.

We’ve put together a list of commonly asked Questions regarding this matter, with Answers to these questions:

  1. How does HEARTH help end homelessness?
  2. What is occurring with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and their funding for HEARTH?
  3. Do we know why HUD and HAB are taking these actions?
  4. What does the impact of this funding loss mean for HEARTH and the families it serves?
  5. What is HEARTH doing in order to survive this funding loss?
  6. If 20 programs are affected by this decision, why is HEARTH the one in the news?
  7. What can I do to help?

Find Answers to all of these questions here on our new FAQ page >

Allegheny Co. Transitional Housing Agencies Could Lose Federal Funding

Members of an advisory board voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that Allegheny County stop seeking federal funding for transitional housing programs in order to make its grant bids more competitive, and instead focus on permanent housing and “rapid re-housing” services.

But if it’s adopted by the county Department of Human Services, the policy change would dry up annual funding streams relied upon by local transitional housing facilities like HEARTH, a Shaler organization that houses survivors of domestic violence.

Human Services Director Marc Cherna said a Department of Housing and Urban Development consultant came to Pittsburgh recently to advise DHS leaders to remove transitional housing programs from the county’s annual bid for federal housing funding.

“What the consultant said, basically, was, ‘You should be looking at getting rid of your transitional housing and reallocating that money to permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing,’” Cherna said.

Cherna said the change is necessary to stay competitive in the HUD grant process.

“If we don’t change with the HUD priorities and we lose the funding, then we lose those resources to the county,” Cherna said. “So, that’s the issue. This has nothing to do with the county deciding this. This is HUD’s priority that we are trying to meet so we can be competitive.”

But HEARTH executive director Judy Eakin said HUD actually recommends transitional housing for special populations, like the domestic violence victims her agency serves.

“We have cameras, security fobs, all types of things to keep them safe, away from their abusers,” Eakin said. “When you look at rapid re-housing and permanent housing, it is scattered-site all through the community, and there isn’t that type of support, safety, counseling, case management.”

Eakin said youth and those fighting addictions can also benefit from transitional housing.

“We need to look at the most vulnerable populations and be sure that we’re providing them options of housing support and all the services they need the entire way through our continuum, and not just allocate all our money in one direction,” Eakin said.

The recommendation made Tuesday by the Homelessness Advisory Board suggests excluding all transitional housing programs from Allegheny County’s annual HUD grant application. HEARTH representatives said their organization would lose $500,000, about half of its annual budget, and noted that about 20 other agencies in the county could lose federal grant funding, as well.

Read the article on 90.5 WEST Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station >

Local nonprofits say they will lose out with changes in HUD funding

A change in how federal funds are allocated to local housing programs has upset some nonprofits that stand to lose out.

The county’s Homeless Advisory Board voted earlier this week to not ask for federal funding for transitional housing, in favor of other types of programs, including “rapid rehousing.”

Marc Cherna, director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, said the county is responding to federal preferences about the best way to solve homelessness.

“HUD periodically changes their priorities. If you don’t stay ahead of that curve, you lose, you don’t get funded,” Mr. Cherna said, referring to funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Allegheny County gets about $18.5 million in HUD funds for homelessness, Mr. Cherna said; about $3.8 million goes to 11 agencies and 18 programs that provide “transitional housing” — essentially a step where people can stay up to 24 months between an emergency homeless shelter and a permanent home.

Among the affected agencies is HEARTH, a 20-unit transitional housing facility based in Shaler that serves families made homeless by domestic violence.

The decision would shift about $500,000 in federal funding the agency now counts on for about half of its transitional-housing budget, said executive director Judy Eakin. Ms. Eakin said she understands federal policy is shifting away from supporting transitional housing programs, but she believes the domestic violence victims served by her agency are a unique population.

“Providing necessary housing to victims of domestic violence must not be a priority,” she said.

Ms. Eakin also said her agency is very successful in helping the women it serves find employment and eventually, permanent housing.

HEARTH sued Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services last year over an unrelated issue; the suit was settled out of court.

The funding changes will likely mean Clairton-based Sisters Place, which assists homeless single-parent families, will have to change some of how it serves its clients, who are mostly homeless single mothers.

“HUD has been talking about this for years, and the providers have not really agreed with it, to be honest with you,” said Sister Mary Parks, the agency’s executive director.

But the shift in funding toward so-called “rapid rehousing” and away from transitional housing is clearly happening at the federal level, she said. Rapid rehousing essentially seeks to put families and individuals in permanent housing as quickly as possible, and provide supports for them there.

“I don’t see another option for [the county], even though none of us like it,” she added.

Sister Mary said in her experience, a period of time in transitional housing is needed to help families gain stability before being able to live on their own.

“My experience tells me, they need more support. But I also see the county’s point. You can’t lose millions of dollars meant to help the homeless,” she said.

A 2015 research report from The Urban Institute noted that research is still limited about how effective rapid rehousing is compared with other methods of combating homelessness.

“[E]arly evaluation and program data indicate that rapid re-housing reduces returns to homelessness,” the report found, but noted further research is required. It also noted this method does not necessarily solve long-term housing affordability issues.

Transitional housing programs can be costly, the same report noted — about $40 to $149 a night, depending on the city, or $1,200 to $4,470 a month — and not always successful.

Mr. Cherna said he believes all of the local agencies currently being funded “can adapt to what we need them to do,” and there will not be any overall loss of beds for those who are homeless.

“If we did not try to meet … HUD’s priorities, we run a significant risk of losing millions of dollars to this county for homeless services,” he said.

By Kate Giammarise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette >

If you love shopping on Amazon, shopping on smile.amazon.com is no different!

EXCEPT… 0.5% is donated to a charity of your choice. Why not choose HEARTH?

There’s no cost to you the customer and there’s no charge to HEARTH. The products are the same, everything is the same, except for the difference you can make by going through AmazonSmile.

How it works: Visit smile.amazon.com, search and select HEARTH as your charity of choice. And make your gifts this Holiday a bit more meaningful.