Michelle, who was previously served at Bethlehem Haven, is a graduate from their Step-Up Program. She is now a homeowner, has been a guest speaker for their Helping Women Helps the World lecture series and has volunteered at Bethlehem Haven numerous times. (Photo by Joey Kennedy)

Michelle, who was previously served at Bethlehem Haven, is a graduate from their Step-Up Program. She is now a homeowner, has been a guest speaker for their Helping Women Helps the World lecture series and has volunteered at Bethlehem Haven numerous times. (Photo by Joey Kennedy)

Combining respective strengths will enhance community-based care for women

PITTSBURGH – The boards of directors of Bethlehem Haven of Pittsburgh, Inc. and Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, Inc. announce plans April 22 to transfer the membership interest of Bethlehem Haven to Pittsburgh Mercy.

In separate actions approved last week by each organization’s board of directors, Bethlehem Haven will become a subsidiary corporation of Pittsburgh Mercy. Together, Bethlehem Haven and Pittsburgh Mercy will combine their respective strengths to develop Southwestern Pennsylvania’s premier, community-based women’s health services network that addresses the physical, behavioral (mental health and addiction), emotional, social, occupational, and spiritual dimensions of health through outreach, community-based services, and shelter and housing programs.

“The Bethlehem Haven board’s choice to become part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Family of Care will advance Bethlehem Haven’s mission to provide a continuum of care for homeless and underserved women that leads toward self-sufficiency,” said Thomas J. Herward, president of the Bethlehem Haven Board of Directors and interim CEO of Bethlehem Haven. “We’re better together. We can accomplish more together than we can separately. We’re excited about the benefits that our coming together will bring to the people and communities we serve.”

The affiliation will enhance access to community-based women’s health services that are focused on the needs of the whole person and the effect of trauma on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

“Bethlehem Haven and Pittsburgh Mercy have strong legacies. We share similar missions, core values, and an unparalleled commitment to social justice and service to others, especially underserved and vulnerable populations,” said Sister Susan Welsh, RSM, president and CEO of Pittsburgh Mercy. “Serving in the tradition our founders, the Sisters of Mercy, we reach out and collaborate with others to fill gaps in services. We look forward to advancing our mission as a compassionate and transforming, healing presence within our communities and to welcoming Bethlehem Haven persons served and colleagues to the Pittsburgh Mercy Family of Care.”

Based in Uptown Pittsburgh, Bethlehem Haven has 30+ years of experience and a proven track record in providing shelter and supportive services, including emergency shelter, housing intervention, rapid rehousing, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, health and wellness services, and supportive employment services to women who are experiencing homelessness in the Pittsburgh area. Bethlehem Haven serves 1,500 people annually in three locations in Allegheny County and employs approximately 50 people. It has an annual budget in excess of $3 million.

Pittsburgh Mercy, part of Trinity Health and serving in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, has more than 170 years of experience in community-based health and human services. Its strengths include behavioral health (mental health and addiction) services, intellectual disabilities services, and community health services, including primary care, gynecological care, and dental care; an array of programs for people experiencing homelessness, abuse, and other forms of trauma; and services for veterans. Headquartered on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, Pittsburgh Mercy serves more than 33,000 people annually in 60+ locations in Southwestern Pennsylvania. It employs 1,700 people and has an annual budget of $94 million.

“By combining our respective strengths and decades of combined experience, we are poised to deliver an enhanced set of community-based programs and services for women who are experiencing homelessness, are at-risk of homelessness, or are experiencing behavioral health (mental health and addiction) challenges,” said Ray Wolfe, chief operating officer (COO) of Pittsburgh Mercy. “Together, we will create new synergies that advance our missions, innovate new models of care, improve access to exceptional services, advance clinical quality and safety, and transform community-based women’s health care in our community.”

Additionally, Wolfe said, “Bethlehem Haven and Pittsburgh Mercy will have a stronger voice in advocating for the poor, the homeless, and the underserved. We will strive to be the national model for community-based women’s health care services, opening the door to many other potential opportunities for collaboration.”

Bethlehem Haven will retain its mission, core values, vision, 501(c)(3) status, board of directors, name, and corporate identity. It will begin to identify itself as part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Family of Care. Donations and fundraising will remain separate; however, the two organizations will seek opportunities to collaborate on grants when it makes sense to do so.

The transaction is pending approval by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Bethlehem Haven and Pittsburgh Mercy hope to complete the transaction June 30, 2016.

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