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Hope for the
In Southwestern PA since 1941

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Learn more about City Mission

Who we are

City Mission is a Christ-centered rehabilitative homeless shelter.  We facilitate the transformation of those who have descended into homelessness, hunger and despair by providing food, shelter, case management, Christian based counseling, and life-changing programming.  Our goal is to help each person who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society.

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a beautiful little girl stares at her empty plate

What we do

The City Mission offers two branches of service - Compassionate Care and our Life Recovery Program. Compassionate Care reaches out to those most in need by offering basic services such as meals, shelter, and medical care.  The Life Recovery Program assists men, women, and children who are in crisis and looking for life transformation.  Our philosophy is to meet people where they are and to lead them towards their God-given purpose.

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Way to Help

What you can do

City Mission’s work is only possible by the community and businesses of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s generous donation of time and treasure.  If you, your business, or church would like to be part of bringing hope to those hurting in our region, or partner with us to deliver the same - please take action today.

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5 youthful volunteers in the cafeteria alongside CEO Dean Gartland
Our Mission
For over 80 years, City Mission has shared Christ, sheltered, healed, and restored the homeless to independent living—without discrimination.  City Mission’s comprehensive program addresses both short-term needs like food and shelter, and long-term needs, including drug and alcohol counseling, mental health and medical treatment, legal aid, and employment training.  Our goal is to help each man, woman, mother with children, or veteran who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society.  With your help, we help our residents renew their lives.
3 male City Mission Resident give a group hug
female resident
mother with 2 children
Women & Children
group of 5 male veterans in discussion group
Program Overview
Our Impact
Our goal for each person who comes to City Mission is for them to move from a life of crisis, to a healthy, productive and thriving life.  Because of your generosity, City Mission made a real impact in the community, giving hope to those who are hungry and homeless and come to our doors for help.
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Nights of Shelter
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People Served
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Medical Services
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What Our Residents Say

Amanda, female resident
"City Mission is where I finally learned that life isn't totally about me. When I began to put others first, I attained a peace that I never had before."
Former Mission Resident
Randy, former resident
“The Mission gives you the opportunity to get right with the Lord and truly change your life. I’m learning to love myself the way God loves me.”
City Mission Resident
kevin, resident
“This time last year, I was depressed, but today I have hope.  The Mission is a place of restoration.  A place of giving life to the lifeless.”
City Mission Resident
matt, former resident
“When I had nowhere else to go, their doors were open.  They took me in graciously. They’ve given me hope.  I’ve gotten my confidence and dignity back."
Former Resident
Nikki, former resident
“The Mission is a miracle for me. It has offered and given me so much.  There’s everything here you could need to get on your feet and start over.”
Former Mission Resident
Nikki, former resident
“I’m finally happy.  Happy that I restored my relationship with the Lord.  It’s definitely better when you have God on your side.”
Former Mission Resident
Renee, former resident
“The gratitude I have in my heart for this place is indescribable.  It is always going to be apart of my life.  City Mission is forever engraved on my heart.”
Former Mission Resident
Jeff, resident
"City Mission has done wonders for me. It’s really been a God-send. As a vet, it takes me a while to trust people. But God is love, and the City Mission is love."
City Mission Resident

Latest News from the Mission

Our News Articles provide information on all manner of topics related to the City Mission.  Our Subject areas include:  Events; Resident Stories; Our Donors; Newsletter Repository; and Knowledge Share.  Knowledge Share engages a host of topics regarding homelessness, addiction and poverty.  Below you will find an opportunity to be “in-the-know” by being on our email list.  You will also find our most recent news pulled together for you below.  Checkout the "Podcast" section of our Knowledge Share articles page!

City Mission Announces March 2024 Retirement of CEO and Names Successor

Dean and Diana
November 2, 2023

After fifteen years of service to City Mission in Washington PA, Dean Gartland, current President/CEO, will change his role to President Emeritus starting March 1, 2024. After assisting the mission with its important leadership transition, Gartland plans his full retirement after September 30, 2024. Starting at the mission in 2008, Gartland served as Director of Programs and Vice President before assuming the President/CEO position in 2010. Under his leadership tenure, City Mission increased its available beds from 96 to 175, and increased its annual budget from $2.5M to $8M. After a devastating fire in 2015, Gartland supervised the $18M capital campaign that established the four main individual shelters the mission has today: Men, Women, Women with Children, and Veterans. During this campaign he provided the vision necessary to recognize the growing needs in the homeless population which added two additional shelters: Veterans and Women with Children. City Mission’s growth is due in part to Gartland’s cultivation of large Pittsburgh area grants such as FHLB-Pittsburgh, RK Mellon and the Allegheny Foundation. Another contributor to growth is his relentless pursuit to get the word out about the works of the mission and innovations such as his “Hope for Homeless” podcast. His development of an outcomes measurement system for the mission has been a proven tool to showcase the mission’s success, both in his grant and relationship work for the mission. “We have a great model for moving the homeless men and women to independent living that allows us to keep robust outcome measures in Housing, Employment, Income, Recovery, and Spirituality (HEIRS),” he said. “Grants and Foundations are always looking to the end results of their investments, and we’ve been able to provide important metrics that prove the efficacy of our programs.” Among his achievements for City Mission, Gartland also established a 60,000 square foot Vocational Training Center/Donation Center and expanded City Mission’s network of Thrift Stores from three to eight. “Our Thrift Stores give all profits back to the Mission,“ he said. “Last year, they provided $500,000 to programs and services for the homeless.” Gartland will serve as President Emeritus at City Mission from March 1, 2024, to September 30, 2024, working in an advisory capacity to the board and senior leadership team, and serving as a fundraiser for the new 50-bed shelter for homeless women that the City Mission is building in 2024. City Mission considers itself blessed to have benefited from Gartland’s years of service and dedication, which has positively impact thousands of lives around our region. When Gartland announced his plans for retirement a year ago, City Mission’s Board of Directors went through the detailed process of selection. The Board identified Diana Irey Vaughan as Gartland’s possible successor and Gartland agreed she is the right person to lead City Mission. Now City Mission is proud to announce that Diana Irey Vaughan has accepted the role as President/CEO starting March 1, 2024. Gartland says, “I am happy Diana has agreed to serve in this important role. City Mission's board and leadership team have worked closely with Diana over the years on large projects, and we are confident she will provide the leadership that is necessary to continue restoring lives through the mission’s programs and services.” Elected County Commissioner in 1995, Irey Vaughan is Washington County’s longest serving Commissioner, now serving her seventh term of office; she is also the only woman to have ever served in this position. She is a leader in economic development, establishing a public-private partnership in 1999 with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce that created a unified delivery system for economic development efforts. She played a key role in the development of Southpointe I and II, having co-chaired the Western Center Land Reuse Task Force, and has been instrumental in the progress of California Technology Park. She was named one of the top “60 Pittsburghers of the Year” by Pittsburgh Magazine in 1999. Through her insistence on long-range planning, low tax rate, and a unified economic delivery plan, Irey Vaughan has helped to foster an environment that brought more than 6,000 new jobs, ranking Washington County third in the nation in job growth by U.S. Department of Labor in 2010. Irey Vaughan is also well-known for her support of area humanitarian efforts, charities, and non-profits. She has served on numerous boards and task forces during her tenure that benefited the region. She also won the Washington County Athena Award in 2014 and the American Legion Medal of Honor in 2015. In 2017-2018, Irey Vaughan served on the City Mission Capital Campaign Steering Committee and raised over $100,000 for City Mission through her long-distance runs. Upon accepting this new role, Irey Vaughan says “City Mission has long been a valuable asset to our community, caring for our neighbors in need and transforming lives now and for eternity. I am humbled and honored to be chosen as the next President/CEO of City Mission.” With all of Irey Vaughn’s experience and knowledge of the region, coupled with her desire to help those in need, City Mission looks forward to her leadership to continue to build on the mission’s 82-year history and take it into the future. About City Mission: For over 82 years, City Mission in Washington, PA, has sheltered, healed, and restored the homeless to independent living—without discrimination. City Mission’s comprehensive program addresses both short-term needs like food and shelter, and long-term needs, including drug and alcohol counseling, mental health and medical treatment, legal aid, and employment training. City Mission’s goal is to help each man, woman, mother with children, or veteran who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society. With your help, we can help our residents renew their lives.

Larry Got His Keys!!

Larry Got His Keys
October 20, 2023

Larry recently moved into his very own place here in Washington after a year and half stay at the Mission. He is also gainfully employed in the service industry, which will help him sustain his independence. Larry came to us with a history of substance abuse, and he was mostly isolated from family and friends because of it. Also, he arrived at City Mission as part of Washington County’s Mental Health Court program, which according to the county website, is a “problem-solving court devoted to handling moderate to severe mental health cases that have become involved with the criminal justice system.” When he came to the Mission, he was a little reserved and apprehensive, but we had the great priviledge to watch him grow and blossom during his time here. He deepened his relationship with Christ and poured himself into 12-step recovery. “They say meeting-makers make it,” said Housing Coordinator, Matt Chase, “and Larry was at a 12-step meeting every opportunity that was available to him.” Additionally, he proved to be very diligent about his mental health medication. With his deepening faith, his commitment to his recovery, and his mental health stability, he has been able to transform his life. He even rekindled his relationship with his son. “During the summer,” Chase explained, “Larry and his son would visit Kennywood and they were able to make precious memories together that weren’t possible when Larry was in active addiction.” Larry graduated from our life recovery program and moved out successfully and independently into his own place. In December, he is expected to graduate from the Mental Health Court program. We couldn’t be happier for his success or more proud of all the work he has done to break through the barriers that had previously held him back. We continue to pray for him on his journey of recovery and hope. “He has been an astounding example to the other folks in the program,” said Chase. “Larry is a vision of hope and living proof that God is still in the business of miracles.”

City Mission Mourns Beloved Employee and Warrior for Christ

Doug Bush
October 11, 2023

All who knew Doug Bush knew he was not someone to sit still for very long. He was always doing something or going somewhere. On Monday October 9th, Doug made his final trip and went home to be with the one who changed and transformed his life, Jesus Christ. Doug was surrounded by family and friends when he made his final journey. Doug faithfully served City Mission in Washington, PA for over 24 years. His love for the work, and most importantly for God, showed in every moment of his day. He was a tireless advocate for individuals in recovery and his message of hope and testimony of faith have been heard around the globe. Doug served in many roles during his over two-decade time at City Mission: in the donations center; in the Programs department; and served as Chaplain - he touched countless lives in all his roles. Doug’s laugh and presence could be felt in any room and this helped him make connections, too numerous to list. He then turned those connections into help for many people finding their way into recovery and into church homes. Doug always took time for people - whether it was stopping to pray with someone, taking a phone call, or sending a text message. If he couldn’t help with something, he always found someone who could. He served in the community through his ministry as the Pastor of Legacy Recovery Church - a part of Legacy Church International. He presided over many weddings and even more baptisms in the City Mission’s Porter Pillow and Peggy Beaver Pillow Chapel. Doug leaves a legacy of love, grace, and faith. No one will be able to replace Doug Bush. But together we can continue his work: by sharing the love of God with those who are hurting; giving one another grace; and remembering that a smile goes a long way. There is a section of scripture that reminds me of Doug. It is found in Mathew chapter 25 versus 35 – 36, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” For me, this verse describes Doug Bush. He will be greatly missed. Arrangements for Doug Bush are as follows:  Viewing: Friday, October 13th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM and 6:00 to 8:00 PM  Funeral: Saturday, October 14th at 11:00 AM doors open at 10:00 AM All of the Above will be held at Life Church 100 North Main Street, Washington, PA 15301 After Service Meal: Saturday, October 14th, 12:30pm at City Mission, 84 W. Wheeling St, Washington, PA For those wanting to honor Doug and his Christ-focused legacy, the family requests making donations to either City Mission ( or by check to address listed above) or by check to Legacy Church International, 200 N Forrest Ave., Washington, PA 15301, noting Doug Bush in memorial. In His Name, Dean R. Gartland, MS On behalf of City Mission staff Friend of Doug Bush and President/CEO of City Mission

Homeless Shelter Donations

City Mission Chapel
September 29, 2023

In a world often filled with uncertainties and challenges, there's an undeniable power in giving. As compassionate individuals, we're blessed with the ability to uplift those facing difficult circumstances. Homelessness is a reality that touches many lives, and donating to a homeless shelter, like City Mission, can make a profound impact on the journey toward brighter days. The Significance of Giving Donating to a homeless shelter goes beyond simply providing necessities—it's an opportunity to restore hope, dignity, and a sense of belonging to those who need it most. Your support allows homeless shelters like ours to offer more than just meals and shelter; it enables us to provide comprehensive solutions that address the root causes of homelessness. We equip individuals with the tools they need to rebuild their lives through education, training, recovery programs, and spiritual support. In 2022, we served 1,145 individuals from all walks of life, offering over 105,000 meals, 38,000 nights of shelter, and 17,000 medical clinic services. We also helped 116 individuals obtain jobs and placed 140 people in their very own home. Your generosity can make an enormous impact in your community and beyond. General Ways to Donate or Give Have you ever thought about how you can help the homeless? You may have wondered what or how to give. The good news is that there are many ways you can make a real difference in the lives of those who need it. Whether you want to provide immediate help, create lasting change, or show kindness, your actions matter a lot. 1. Financial Donations: Providing financial support is a direct way to make an impact. Monetary contributions enable shelters to allocate resources where they are needed most, from housing assistance to program development. Many rescue missions, including us, don't accept government funding. We rely solely on the compassion and generosity of friends like you to raise the $8 million it takes annually to bring hope to the homeless in Washington County. 2. Material Donations: Donating clothing, shoes, blankets, and personal hygiene items helps meet immediate needs. Shelters often provide a list of urgently needed items to guide your donations. 3. Food Donations: Contributing non-perishable food items or organizing food drives can help ensure that individuals experiencing homelessness have access to nutritious meals. 4. Volunteer Time: Giving your time as a volunteer can be as valuable as financial donations. Many shelters rely on volunteers for tasks ranging from meal preparation to mentoring. 5. Fundraising Initiatives: Organizing fundraisers or participating in charity events can have a significant impact. This might include charity runs, bake sales or online crowdfunding campaigns. 6. Gift Cards: Providing gift cards for grocery stores, pharmacies, or clothing retailers gives individuals the flexibility to purchase what they need most. 7. Professional Services: Offering your skills, such as legal advice, medical services, or career counseling, can directly benefit shelter residents. 8. Awareness Campaigns: Spreading awareness about homelessness and the work of shelters through social media, storytelling, or public speaking can inspire others to give. Choosing a Homeless Shelter Deciding to contribute to a homeless shelter is a meaningful choice, reflecting your compassion and desire to make a positive impact. However, ensuring that your donation truly benefits those in need is essential. Taking a thoughtful approach and doing your due diligence before donating can help you maximize the impact of your generosity. Here are some considerations to guide you in selecting the right homeless shelter to support: 1. Mission and Values: Research the shelter's mission and values. Look for alignment with your values and beliefs to ensure your contribution makes a meaningful impact. 2. Programs and Services: Explore the range of programs offered. A holistic approach, like our HEIRS Model, addresses various aspects of homelessness, from housing and employment to recovery and spirituality. 3. Transparency and Accountability: Choose a homeless shelter that is transparent about how donations are used. Check if they are a registered nonprofit organization and adhere to ethical practices. 4. Community Impact: Consider the shelter's impact on the local community. How do they collaborate with other organizations to address homelessness collectively? 5. Volunteer Opportunities: If you're able, explore volunteer opportunities. Your time and skills can complement your financial contributions. 4 Ways to Make a Difference at City Mission Through the support of donors and volunteers, we provide services such as meals, shelter, education, recovery programs, and more, all with the goal of empowering individuals to rebuild their lives and achieve independence. Your contribution matters, and there are multiple ways you can help us make a lasting impact on the lives of the less fortunate. 1. Donating Financially: Your financial support paves the way for real change in the lives of the homeless individuals and families we serve. Whether providing a warm meal, a safe place to sleep, or vital training, your generosity empowers us to offer comprehensive solutions for lasting transformation. Donations can be made online or sent to our address at 84 W. Wheeling Street, Washington, PA 15301. To make a secure online donation, visit our donation page. 2. Donate Assets: Contributing assets such as cash, stock, or other investments through a Donor Advised Fund is a strategic way to make a difference. Partner with your financial advisor to set up a fund that supports charities of your choice, including City Mission. These funds provide immediate tax benefits while allowing you to recommend grants to qualified charities. For more information, contact Dr. Sally Mounts, Chief Development Officer, at 724-705-7122 or 3. Shop for a Cause: When you shop at a City Mission Thrift Store, 100% of the proceeds directly support our Life Recovery Programs. Visit our eight conveniently-located stores for quality finds that create positive change. You can also find us on Amazon Wishlist, where your purchases benefit the homeless and in-need communities we serve. 4. Donate Goods: Your excess items can become life-changing resources for those in need. We accept many items, including clothing, electronics, furniture, household goods, books, etc. These donations directly contribute to our efforts to restore hope and independence. To find out what items we can accept, visit our Ways to Help page. Join Us in Making a Difference Today City Mission is dedicated to creating positive change, and your involvement is crucial to our success. Your donations create hope, leading to lasting transformation and renewed independence for those we serve. Together, we can empower individuals to overcome obstacles and achieve meaningful change.

"An Unforgettable Experience"

Warriors Rock Concert
September 29, 2023

“Homeless and veteran are two words that should never be in the same sentence,” City Mission Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts, said to the crowd at the 1st Annual Washington County Warriors Rock Concert on Thursday, September 28 at Wild Things Stadium. “But unfortunately, veteran homelessness is a reality, and because of that, we have an obligation to help. That’s why the City Mission has created the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House for homeless veterans. We hope that you all support our veterans, and just by being here tonight, you are helping us.” Proceeds from the rockin’ evening benefit City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House and the 22 homeless veterans looking to turn their lives around at the Mission. Despite the gloomy, rainy weather, there was a good crowd at the event, safe and dry under a huge tent in the outfield grass of the stadium. After a helicopter flyover, flown by a local veteran, 11-year-old local singer, Josie Salvitti, sang the National Anthem. And then Gary Racan and the Studio E Band took the stage. They sang a variety of songs from all eras and genres. So there was something for everyone to enjoy. Woven in between the songs were video presentations featuring local veterans sharing the stories of their military service. Paul Karpan was the first veteran to be featured. He is a 101-year-old World War II veteran. Jim Balog, a US Army Aviation veteran, told the harrowing story of his helicopter crash during the Vietnam conflict. Dr. Dan Ravasio, veteran of the US Army Medical Corps, told the tale of helping to save the life of a female pilot who was the sole survivor of a helicopter crash during the war in Iraq. The woman whose life was saved is now a US Senator. Each veteran chose a song that had special meaning for them and the military service, and the Studio-E Band would play it. Paul Karpan, the WWII veteran, chose “In The Mood” by Glenn Miller. Dr. Ravasio selected “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Jim Balog requested “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors. The event flowed smoothly and was incredibly compelling from start to finish. The most emotional part of the night was a presentation by a Gold Star Family. Judi Kovacicek and her daughter Renae Salvitti honored US Marine Lance Corporal Ryan Kovacicek who was killed in combat in Hit, Iraq in 2005. The story of their beloved son and brother was so moving that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The event culminated in a celebration of every veteran in attendance and a firework display. It was truly a beautiful and memorable night. We would like to thank everyone involved with the event: John and Michaela Salvitti who spearheaded the event, Gary and Kim Racan and the Studio E Band for their enthralling performances and presentations, all the veterans who participated, Wild Things Stadium for hosting the event, all of the many event sponsors who made the evening possible, everyone who braved the weather to attend the event, all the volunteers, and everyone who pitched-in in any way to make this benefit concert such a resounding success! “Warriors Rock was an unforgettable experience for everyone who attended,” said Dr. Mounts, “moving and meaningful, and a ton of fun!”

"Play Ball!"

City Mission and Range Resources
September 15, 2023

After a weeklong rain delay, the fifth annual Range Resources vs City Mission Hits for the Homeless charity softball game resumed at North Strabane Park last Wednesday. "It's so nice to see our residents go out and play a game and have fun," said City Mission President/CEO, Dean Gartland. "We just can't thank Range Resources enough for putting together this event." For the past five years, each September, Range Resources has hosted a softball game with their employees taking on City Mission residents. Leading up to the game, the Range Resources team also supplied lunch for our residents and served in our dining hall to build anticipation for the upcoming contest and build camaraderie with the City Mission team. After the game, Range Resources presented City Mission with a generous check. This past Wednesday, the two teams came to the field ready to play, resuming in the middle of the second inning with the City Mission team leading 2-1. In the bottom of the second inning, City Mission scored another run, giving them a 3-1 lead. But in the top of the third, the Range Resources’ bats came alive, knocking in five runs. This gave Range their first lead of the game, one they would never relinquish as they went on to capture a 17-12 win, making the series record between the two teams 3-2 in favor of Range and bringing the trophy back to their offices for the first time in three years. "It's really good to see the camaraderie that develops between the residents out here on the field," said City Mission's Men’s Intake Coordinator/Softball Coach, Dave Green. "We see them when they first come to us broken. And then to bring them out here and see their talents start to shine through -- it's really something special to watch." The game is a special event for the residents of City Mission. It’s something that they all look forward to and a memory they will cherish long after they leave the Mission. Each City Mission player, no matter their level of experience or athleticism, plays the game hard and plays to win. Many of them come to us in a very vulnerable state and have suffered through difficult even traumatic events recently in their lives. And at the Mission, they are doing serious and soul-searching work on themselves. This annual softball game is an important opportunity for them to let loose, have fun, and support each other. It’s hard to put into words exactly what it means to them. “I just love playing ball,” one City Mission resident said in the middle of the game. “I just feel free.” “This is what life recovery is all about,” added Green. “It teaches these guys how to live and how to have fun without drugs and alcohol. I mean, they’re having a blast.” So thank you, Range Resources, for making such a meaningful impact on our residents and for engaging with the Mission in such a thoughtful and genuine way. Your business or organization can also make an impact on your community by partnering with City Mission. Contact Corporate Relations Manager, Eric Smith, at or visit for more information.

A Legacy of Giving

The Smydo family in front of the treehouse playset they donated.
September 1, 2023

A few months ago, Dave Smydo and the Smydo family made a very generous and unique donation to City Mission. They donated a treehouse playset and a bookcase full of children’s books for the Kids’ Corner in our dining hall. “This is a great example of a donor connecting with City Mission through his passion,” said Dr. Sally Mounts, City Mission’s Chief Development Officer. “Dave has a heart for kids and a huge interest in making sure their physical and emotional needs are met. So the treehouse and the bookcase full of children’s books are a natural extension of that.”“The heart of the Smydo family for children is evident in their gifts of the treehouse, books, and shelves,” added City Mission Director of Residential Programs, Leah Dietrich. “You can see it too in Dave’s work within the community to help provide children with opportunities otherwise beyond their reach.”For a long time, City Mission has been working to create safe, fun, kid-centered spaces around campus. For the kids who live in our Women with Children Shelter, the dining hall is a central place where they eat every day and get to play with their friends and develop social skills. The Mission also hosts recovery meetings in our dining hall, and the Kids’ Corner offers a place for the children to play together safely, build friendships, and develop motor skills while their moms work on their own recovery just a few feet away. But the Kids’ Corner is also an important spot for our adult residents who have children that do not live at the Mission, because it provides an opportunity for the parents to have positive, playful, and memorable visits with their kids on our campus. “The Smydo family’s generosity will allow the children who call City Mission home and the children who visit our campus the opportunity to enjoy a space just for them,” said Dietrich. “In a difficult time where they are faced with many challenges, they can simply be kids. The expansion of the City Mission Kids’ Corner will be enjoyed for years to come.” Dave Smydo first learned about the Mission when his father, Andrew Joseph Smydo, passed away two years ago. Dave noticed that the last check his father wrote before he died was to City Mission. His father’s final act of kindness and generosity moved Dave and encouraged him to learn more about the Mission. And he wants to pass on that legacy of giving to his son, Declan. “I am grateful for the heart of Dave,” said Dietrich, “and supporters like him who have a heart for children and a desire to teach the next generation to support those in need. He is truly working to instill in his son, Declan, that same love for others.”It is a beautiful story and a very impactful donation from a big-hearted donor and his family. Thank you, Smydo family, for your compassionate gifts to our City Mission children. You can make an impact in your community, too! Visit to learn more about how you can partner with us in our mission to bring hope to the homeless.

Ride Like the Wind

Greg at City Mission
August 4, 2023

“The people here at City Mission cared about me when I couldn’t even care about myself,” Greg said of his experience at the Mission. “They showed me love and understanding when I couldn’t even love and understand myself.” Greg grew up in Turtle Creek, the youngest of five kids. “I was a spoiled little brat,” he said. He always had nice clothes and cool stuff. He got away with everything. He was the baby of the family. But he also experienced more than his share of trauma when he was young. “My story is full of the deaths of loved ones,” he explained. Greg’s childhood idol, Roger, rode motorcycles. “Roger would pick me up and put me on his bike and ride me up the hill,” Greg explained. “Whenever I heard the engine of that bike, no matter where I was or what I was doing, I dropped everything and came running.” When Greg was just six years old, Roger wrecked his bike and was killed. It was devastating for Greg to lose his boyhood idol at such a young age, but it didn’t diminish his lifelong love of motorcycles. When Greg was 12, his dad died on Christmas. “That’s when my addiction really took off,” he said. “I hated God. I was angry all the time. I worried about everything. I started having nightmares. I would sleepwalk and wake up shouting, ‘Jesus doesn’t love me. He never loved me.’” Drugs and alcohol momentarily took his anger and his worry away, so he started chasing after them so he could stay in that feeling of numbness as often as possible. But he never learned to deal with his problems or his pain, so everything just continued to get worse. He did receive some social security benefits after his father’s death. His mom had a job and didn’t need the money for the household, so he spent it all on cool sneakers, nice clothes, and alcohol. He bought himself a dirtbike and learned to ride. In high school, he was a star athlete, but he dropped out of school so he could party. He was getting into fistfights all the time. “I was never really fighting anyone else. I was just fighting what was inside of me,” he explained. “I was fighting my own demons.” When he was 19, he got his first DUI, but the charges were dropped. When he was 21, he went away to state prison for four years. He ended up spending most of the 1990’s in prison. While he was in prison, his Mom passed away. He never really got to say goodbye. He tried to turn his life around, and he got clean for a while in his 20’s and was even engaged to be married to a good, stable young woman who was studying to work in the medical field. On July 4th, she died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, and his life spiraled again. When he was 29, he had his first operation. Arthritis was wreaking havoc on the whole left side of body, and between ages 29 and 47, he would have 13 total operations, including an ACL replacement in his left knee, a reconstruction of his left ankle, reconstructive surgery on his jaw, shoulder reconstruction, and five total hernia surgeries. After one of his hernia surgeries, his body had a bad reaction to the surgical mesh used in the operation, and he was in constant pain for the next eight years. “I went to the emergency room 52 times in eight years,” he explained. During that time, he started doing heavier drugs to help deal with the constant pain he was enduring. “I was angry all the time,” he said. “Angry at myself. I would lash out, get into fights. For me, frustration and depression always turned into anger, because I didn’t know how to handle it.” When the surgical mesh was finally removed and the previous surgery corrected, he started feeling better physically, and he started to put together some clean time. He got a good job in a manufacturing plant in Lancaster County. “I was running my own department,” he said. “I’d be a superviser there now if I had stayed.” But he relapsed. He moved back to Pittsburgh and stayed clean for a while. Only to relapse again. And he had his first experiences with fentanyl. “It got really weird,” he explained. “I was yelling out the windows and talking to dead people. I broke everything in my house. I broke the tv. I had obituaries of strangers just spread out all over the house. I was losing my mind.” In a short period of time, Greg overdosed 24 times. “Eight of those times were really serious,” he said. “I woke up in the hospital. But sometimes, I’d come to on the floor, soaked in sweat. Every three times I would do drugs, I would OD. I was slowly dying. I had no desire to live anymore, but I was too scared to blow my own head off.” Greg believed that suicide was a mortal sin and that he wouldn’t see his loved ones in the afterlife if he killed himself. So he just kept killing the pain with drugs. “They gave me energy and took away all my pain,” he explained. “I didn’t feel nothing. No physical pain. No mental anguish. Addiction is a disease of feelings. I just didn’t want to feel anything anymore.” His body deteriorated to 150 pounds. He was simply withering away, waiting to die, until one day, his biker friends all came over to his house for an intervention. Each one of them poured out their hearts and let him know how much he meant to them. He went to rehab that night. While in rehab, he met City Mission Chaplain and Housing Coordinator, Doug Bush. And Greg knew that if he was really going to change, he needed to get right with God. After rehab, he came to City Mission to get his life back on track. “After eight months at the Mission, I accomplished so much,” he said. “I’m not at all the angry person I was not that long ago. I got my social security benefits. My resentments are pretty much all gone. Even my resentments against myself. Now, when I start to worry or when I feel the anger starting up, I just pray to God. I pray for strength. I pray prayers of gratitude. I pray for the anger to get pulled away from me. And it always does. And mostly, I pray for others.” “City Mission has given me a place to sit still,” he added. “They taught me patience. They taught me how to trust people again. They gave me something to believe in and taught me that there is something bigger than myself. They taught me how to pray and how to deal with my anxieties.” “You know, if anybody else would have done the things to me that I did to myself, I would’ve beat them up. Instead, I just beat myself up. And I just always thought that I deserved all the pain in my life and all the problems. But the Mission taught me that I’m not a bad person. They taught me how to be able to deal with myself.” “You can’t worry about yesterday,” Greg added. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, so you gotta live in the present. When you look in your rearview mirror, you only see a small picture, a limited view. Doing that kept me in my addiction for a long time.” Recently, Greg moved out of the Mission. He moved in with his stepson, while he looks for a place of his own. Today, he is looking forward to his future. “Today, I have no desire to put that junk in me ever again. I have no desire to die. I want to live. I want to have happiness.” And even with all his pain and physical ailments, he still wants to ride his motorcycle. “I’m going to ride my motorcycle for as long as I can. That’s my passion. To me, it’s freedom. It’s the best therapy I’ve ever had. When I get on a bike, all my pains are gone. I can ride for miles.” Greg has been given a second chance. Every day, more people just like Greg, come through our doors in need of healing and restoration. Please consider donating to City Mission HERE to help them turn their lives around.

Mission Possible VIII

The fastest runner crossing finish line
July 28, 2023

City Mission’s eighth annual Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk, presented by AccuTrex Products, Inc. and benefiting the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House for homeless veterans, will be held at Peterswood Park in Venetia on Saturday, August 5 at 8am. ”This is a unique run because it was conceived to benefit a shelter for homeless veterans, and veterans feature prominently in the opening ceremonies and the event itself,” said City Mission Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts, a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army. The event was started eight years ago by Jeff McCartney, a local realtor and board member for the City Mission Board of Directors, as a way to raise funds in support of City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House, which opened in July 2018 and houses 22 homeless veterans, helping to restore them to independent living. Once again, this year’s Presenting Sponsor for the event is AccuTrex Products, Inc., a manufacturing company headquartered in Canonsburg. AccuTrex President and CEO, Marty Beichner, was named Pittsburgh’s Vetrepeneur of the Year in 2020, a prestigious honor presented annually to one of the region’s outstanding veteran business owners. “Marty and his wife Judy are long-time supporters of City Mission,” said Sally Mounts. “Marty was a Corpsman on the ground in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion 26th Marines, and he understands veterans’ needs at such a visceral level.” US Army veteran, John, came to live at City Mission last September and found new life at the Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House. Before coming to the Mission, he desperately needed surgery. He was fighting every day through the pain. Since coming to the Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House, John has had four life-changing operations. The Mission supported him in his healing process by transporting him to and from medical appointments, connecting him with Veterans’ services and benefits, visiting him in the hospital, giving him meals and a place to sleep for as long as needed, and offering him love and encouragement at every step along the way. Now, he is on the road to recovery, but the Mission didn’t just help him physically. “I thought I came to the Mission because I needed surgery,” John said, “but God brought me here to learn lessons of humility and faith and trust. The people here have really been a blessing for me. The Mission has helped me to heal, and it has also given me an opportunity to be of service to God by serving others.” As a resident assistant in the Crabtree House, John helps mentor the other residents and supports new residents as they learn about and acclimate to our program. He also volunteers in our Career Training and Education Center where he helps City Mission residents obtain identification cards and find a job that is right for them. “The Vets program at City Mission is awesome,” John said. “There is a group of people coming together with common knowledge of what’s available for veterans. And the staff here is really looking to see you succeed, and it’s all out of love. I’m glad that I came to City Mission. I’m glad that I’ve met the people that I’ve met here.” At City Mission’s veterans shelter, John has restored physically, but he has also renewed his sense of faith, purpose, dignity, and belonging. You can help other veterans just like John turn their lives around. Learn more or register today for the eighth annual Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk at

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.     — Isaiah 40:31