James couldn’t focus on his school work.
He was too busy worrying about his little brother.

As the oldest of three siblings, James was constantly worrying about his family, particularly his brother with autism. His father refused to work and was verbally abusive to his mother, and then one day it happened… the screaming turned into violence. His mother made a decision no mother wants to make – to leave, with no place to go but a shelter.

James had never been able to focus in school because he spent his time helping his younger siblings with their schoolwork instead of doing his own. He was a strong teenager; he felt responsible for his entire family and he didn’t want his mother worrying about him. His mom didn’t have a high school diploma and could only find minimum wage jobs. They barely made ends meet. He saw her struggle and did his very best to step up and “be the man” in the family, making it impossible for him to focus on school and to have other normal teenage experiences.

The family was in the shelter for several weeks, but to James, it felt like an eternity. Finally, his mom told him they would be moving to a new home, a place called HEARTH. She explained that the family would be safe there. They would all go to better schools and there was even more than one room for their family to live in. James was so relieved. “Finally, I felt like I could focus on myself and my own studies. I had a workspace and other quiet places to do my work,” James told our staff. The heavy weight of worrying about his brother’s education was finally lifted.

Donate to HEARTH through the Pittsburgh Foundation on August 19th.

When you give through The Pittsburgh Foundation on Wednesday, August 19th, your donation will be matched from a pro-rated pool!

Imagine being homeless for the holidays. 

HEARTH works hard within Allegheny County to build partnerships to help homeless families, to educate the public about this ever-growing problem, and to identify the faces of these families … women with children.

The root cause of homelessness happens at the intersection  of poverty and violence. When a woman leaves an abuser, she often has no money or options.

At HEARTH, we address the root cause of this issue among women with children. At HEARTH, moms are required to attend secondary schooling or a job training program so they can become economically self-sufficient.


Among mothers with children experiencing homelessness, more than 80% experienced domestic violence.

Safety and stability does not just affect mom, it also benefits her children. 21% of homeless children repeat a grade because of frequent absence from school. (Compared to 5% of other children)

Between 94-99% of domestic violence survivors have also experienced financial abuse, which involves controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources.

HEARTH is privately funded. 

Your support ensures the families at HEARTH live in a safe environment, where they can focus on educational success while they become economically self-sufficient.

Please give today to ensure families like James’ continue to have choices they never dreamed possible. You can make your year-end tax deductible donation by sending a check in the enclosed envelope or visiting our website.

Check us out on social media. For other ways to get involved, please email Tara at trmaziarz@hearth-bp.org.

With the help of a caring community, and additional changes we have already begun to make, HEARTH will be here for many years to come, serving homeless families who are fleeing domestic violence!