Each year, hundreds of women seek safety and shelter at Bethlehem Haven.
They are young women who have been kicked out of their homes. Older women who have been abused by their adult children. They are working women who lost their job when the company downsized.
One missed paycheck, one medical emergency, one bad decision, one blind corner – and the house of cards comes tumbling down. They are left homeless, hungry and hurting.
But you were there for them. Every gift you gave – whether it was your time, talents or treasure –reminded them that someone cared.
- 279 women sought refuge at Emergency Shelter. You made sure they all had new pajamas and toiletries. You made dinner, broke bread and offered fellowship.
- 188 women stayed in the transitional housing programs. You offered work clothes and job opportunities so they could rebuild their lives.
- 28 women with challenging mental illnesses had permanent, safe and supportive housing. You helped them to feel whole again by providing meals, poetry workshops, and birthday parties to celebrate who they are.
- 157 older women and 58 families were able to avoid homelessness. You paid their overdue rent so they could stay in the community where their children go to school.
- 15 women and 2 men were served in the Medical Respite Program. You offered them a safe place to heal and receive medical services when they were homeless.
A warm hug, a shoulder to cry on, a hand up when it was needed most – these are the priceless moments you have offered to the women at Bethlehem Haven.
Being homeless is a very lonely place to be – with no friends or family to turn to – but you made hundreds of women know that they were not alone. They could count on you.
Hospitality. Compassion. Integrity. Empowerment. These core values are the centerpiece of Bethlehem Haven’s delivery of services to homeless women and those at-risk of homelessness.
Bethlehem Haven’s mission is to provide a continuum of care for homeless women that leads toward self-sufficiency.
Bethlehem Haven’s vision is to end homelessness through collaboration with the community and the people we serve.
Thirty-five years ago, Rev. Peter Weaver of Smithfield United Church of Christ in Downtown Pittsburgh made a decision that changed the lives of thousands of women. Instead of locking the church doors for the night on a bitter cold Christmas Eve, he opened them to a group of homeless women huddled together against the brutal weather. In that moment, Bethlehem Haven was born, and the doors have never since been closed.
Bethlehem Haven operated in those early years as an emergency shelter in the basement of Smithfield UCC, providing a place to sleep, something to eat, and compassionate care, but the original focus of crisis intervention was insufficient to address the multiple issues confronting the growing number of homeless women seeking assistance. Bethlehem Haven created a collaborative model of service providers to address these needs, which brought more volunteers into the shelter and expanded regular programs to include health and wellness services.
In 2000, Bethlehem Haven moved into Fifth Avenue Commons, located in Uptown Pittsburgh, a transition that allowed the organization to expand its programs by adding transitional housing and a health clinic. Before long, the Haven was also providing employment services and established permanent supportive housing for women who are the most vulnerable and in need of life-long care.
In 2007, Bethlehem Haven merged with Miryam’s and acquired its 1410 Fifth Avenue building, adding 30 transitional housing spaces and expanding the total number of beds to 96. That merger also added a day program shelter to our continuum of care, providing more of the resources needed to help these women return to a fulfilling and productive life.
This year, Bethlehem Haven became part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Family of Care, ensuring it’s sustainability as a provider of shelter, housing and services to vulnerable women in Allegheny County. Today, Bethlehem Haven is better equipped than ever to benefit homeless women by providing long-term solutions that combine “health and housing” to help end the cycle of homelessness.
In the words of one resident, “We didn’t choose to be homeless. No one chooses that kind of life. But without Bethlehem Haven, I really don’t know where I would have gone.”
For the last 35 years, Bethlehem Haven has provided nearly 13,000 nights of shelter, every night, and the need continues to grow. Each year, the Haven provides nearly 60,000 meals; sees around 600 men and women in the health and wellness clinic; fills countless physical and emotional needs for our residents and day program attendees; and provides employment training for more than 100 men and women in the community.
Board of Directors
Daniel McGrogan, Esp., Chair
Stephanie L. Garbe, Esq., V. Chair
Paul K. Rudoy, CPA, Treasurer
Ellen C. Stewart, MD, Secretary
Linda D. Antonelli
Dennis Cestra, Jr.
Paula Kovanic Spiro, LSW, MPH
Debra B. Krasnow
Susan A. Leff
Erica McIlroy, Esq.
Maya T. Nimgaonkar, MD
Krissy Zocco Scragg
Deborah W. Linhart
Chief Executive Officer
Edward J. Donnelly, III, MD
Thomas J. Herward
Debra Kline Demchak
Stephen C. Frobouck
Steffi B. Gold
Maryanne Hugo, MD
Judge Lawrence W. Kaplan
Dean Naccarato, Esq.
Rev. Regis Ryan
Edith Shapira, MD
Bishop Peter D. Weaver
Very Rev. George L.W. Werner
Susan Yohe, Esq.