Hops for HEARTH

Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 7-9 pm
Join us at HOPS FOR HEARTH – a fantastic sampling of microbrew and craft beers, appetizers, and a silent auction at the Bigelow Conference & Reception Center. Have fun while supporting homeless families who are survivors of domestic violence. Register now! More information about the event >

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

Amazon Smile for Hearth

Where are you shopping this holiday season?

Try AmazonSmile and 0.5% of the purchase price will come to HEARTH

If you love shopping on Amazon, shopping on AmazonSmile is no different EXCEPT 0.5% is donated to the charity of your choice. Why not choose HEARTH? There’s no cost to you, the customer, and there’s no charge to HEARTH.

Your your holiday gift just a little more meaningful.

Visit www.smile.amazon.com

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 >

2016 HEARTH Dreammakers

HEARTH is pleased to announce the “Dreammakers” for 2016.
A “Dreammaker” has culmulatively donated $10,000 or more to HEARTH

  1. Genie and Michael DiChiazza
  2. Jim and Jackie Eakin
  3. Leslie and Doug Kittenbrink
  4. Glenn and Erika Kolod
  5. Paul and Camille Kurtanich
  6. North Boroughs Rotary Club
  7. Reed Smith LLP

Thank you for your continued support, providing the families at HEARTH a “hand-up, not a hand-out” as they work toward independence and self-sufficiency, making their dreams a reality.

2016 Volunteers of the Year for HEARTH

“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, they have the heart”

HEARTH is pleased to announce our 2016 Volunteers of the Year:

Girl Scout Troop 51227

The Mlecko Sister ~ Alexis, Jenna & Maura

Judy Robertson

We applaud you for your continued support for families, fleeing domestic violence experiencing homelessness.