Bethlehem Haven, a shelter for at-risk and homeless women, is joining the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, in a move that will secure their financial stability and offer a wider range of services to the women it helps.
Bethlehem Haven offers transitional housing with the assistance of federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grants. But Bethlehem Haven President Thomas Herward said HUD’s focus on rapid re-housing has left the shelter under-funded.
“We were able to keep people in a transitional (housing) program for up to two years, but have just been informed that our transitional program contracts will not be renewed,” Herward said.
Pittsburgh Mercy will also share administrative services with Bethlehem Haven, giving it access to administrative help like human resources, accounting and IT support. While Bethlehem Haven had to previously outsource these types of jobs, the organization is now able to allocate the money into direct care.
Additionally, the partnership means women served by Bethlehem Haven will have access to a wide range of health care.
“(They) have access to primary care, to behavioral health care that includes mental health and addiction services,” Pittsburgh Mercy Spokeswoman Melissa Kelley said. “We offer intellectual disability services. We have services not just in primary care—I should expand that—and say dental care, gynecological care.”
The acquisition is a part of Pittsburgh Mercy’s plan to expand its community-based care into more gender-enhanced services, Kelley said.
For Bethlehem Haven, the assistance is alleviating. The organization is focused on giving its clients the support they need in order to live independently. With the added financial help, Bethlehem Haven can look for housing alternatives.
The two organizations are also planning to submit a joint proposal for the rapid rehousing of women who depend on the organization.