2018 Kickball for a Cause donations are supporting HEARTH, Allegheny County’s only transitional housing unit for women experiencing homelessness who are victims of domestic violence or trauma. HEARTH is 100% non-government funded.
Domestic violence is a very common cause of homelessness for female heads of households. The statistics* around the effect of homelessness on women and families are staggering:
- More than 80% of women with children experiencing homelessness are victims of domestic violence
- 21% of homeless kids have to repeat a grade because of frequent absence from school (compared to the 5% overall average)
- 40% of homeless children attend 2 different schools within a year
HEARTH, which stands for Homelessness Ends with Advocacy, Resources, Training and Housing, exists to serve this vulnerable population, and ultimately empower them to break the cycle of poverty and abuse.
“Our focus is on empowering these single moms with children to become economically self-sufficient and personally self-sufficient, so they can be the head of their household,” explains Tara Maziarz, the Marketing and Corporate Relations Manager at HEARTH. “Our mission and our program are so successful that we want to keep funneling families through our program so that these women don’t have to go back to their abusers, or live on the street, or couch surf with their kids. We want to help these women become the head of their family and to take care of their family on their own so that they have more freedom.”
HEARTH is more than just transitional housing—they provide many training programs and resources to help their residents. These resources include everything from job training to childcare, to food and clothing pantries, access to technology and exercise facilities, educational opportunities, and many other resources to support these women as they change their lives for the better.
And the impact HEART has on the lives of the women who go through the program is undeniable:
- 85% of families find permanent housing
- 71% increase their education level
- 66% of participants increase their income
- 61% find permanent employment
Why We’re Important to Young Pittsburgh
HEARTH grew and evolved out of a community need right here in the Pittsburgh region. A group of concerned community leaders noticed a rise in homelessness among female-headed households in our region. With funding from grants, transitional housing units were developed to help female heads of households experiencing homelessness to become self-sufficient. It became apparent that the overwhelming majority of the women making use of these facilities were victims of domestic violence. So HEARTH clarified its mission to focus specifically on this vulnerable population.
Homelessness, poverty, and domestic violence may hit closer to home than you even know.
“The women that live here are people just like you or just like your friends,” Maziarz explains. “Domestic violence and homelessness and poverty are a silent cause—people don’t realize it’s happening in your own back yard. Someone that you know that you think is fine may not be. By supporting HEARTH, you’re helping those people in your own backyard.”
Your donations and support are particularly important because HEARTH is 100% non-government funded.
The money raised at this year’s Kickball for a Cause event will go toward many different important uses for HEARTH. It will help provide electricity, heating, cooling, and general operating cost of their facility of 20 self-contained apartments. It will also go towards helping provide all the resources that the women and families in the facility may need, such as food, clothing, therapy, job training, childcare, and more.
Even if you can’t attend this year’s event, you can donate to Kickball for a Cause to support HEARTH and their efforts here in our community.
Beyond the event, there are a number of ways that you can get involved. HEARTH’s Associate Board is always looking for young professionals to get involved with the direction of the organizations. And there are opportunities to volunteer and to tour the HEARTH facilities.
Visit the HEARTH website to learn more about how HEARTH is helping the community and our region. While you’re on the website you can also sign-up for the mailing list, follow HEARTH on social media to discover opportunities to get involved, and find out about HEARTH events.