“There is no place like home.”
This common phrase, made famous by the Wizard of Oz, reminds us just how truly special home is. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown established the Martha & Mary House earlier this year for men, women, families and handicapped individuals living in Johnstown without a home or a place to stay.
The Martha & Mary House is a 15-bed shelter with a comprehensive homeless assistance program where people in the community can come to find support.
Case managers on staff work with residents to help establish permanent residency after their stay at the shelter. Residents are allowed to stay up to 30 days in order to give them adequate time to secure financial stability and work toward a permanent residence.
“By far, the biggest achievements are seeing the residents who arrived with little hope that they would be able to stabilize their situations walk out of the shelter with keys in hand to a new apartment and a fresh start,” said Missy Kreutzberger, Director/Lead Case Manager of The Martha & Mary House.
Several residents attend parenting classes, AA and NA meetings, and receive other drug and alcohol treatments. Personal finance programs will be implemented soon, and the staff has established a rigid routine and schedule, including Sunday night dinners and weekly game nights, to provide opportunities for skill building and development.
In September of 2013, the Salvation Army homeless shelter closed its doors leaving homeless people in Johnstown to seek shelter elsewhere for 15 months. During that time, Catholic Charities worked with local hotels to provide housing for those affected. Catholic Charities worked to fill this need in the community. The Martha & Mary House was established with the help of many community partners and benefactors.
Since the shelters doors opened in March 2015 more than 35 Cambria County families have had a place to call home. In Pennsylvania, Catholic Charities serves hundreds of thousands of people of all faiths and no faith every year.