City Mission Launches New Website

The new City Mission website homepage

City Mission is Improving its Digital Image

City Mission is both excited and proud to launch our new website at citymission.org.  We have completely redesigned the site with you in mind - streamlining menus, simplifying navigation, and building a responsive layout across all platforms and browsers.  We have also improved the structure and we're increasing the volume of City Mission’s content.

We have completely redesigned our website with you in mind - streamlining menus, simplifying navigation, and building a responsive layout across all platforms and browsers. We have also improved the structure and are increasing the volume of City Mission’s content.

City Mission’s combined content repository resides within our News section.  Our news articles are divided into five topical clusters:  Events; Resident Stories; Knowledge Share; Donor Stories; and our Newsletter repository.  You can check out our Event Slider to stay current on the happenings at City Mission or surf down the ‘Knowledge Share’ page and listen to our Podcasts.  

You can find specific contact and management information for City Mission on our Team or Contact page.  Additional points of interest include our Impact to the community as well as our rich History.  

Feel free to review our Programmatic information, which embodies our Care, Recovery and Outreach philosophies - in essence, the cornerstone of what City Mission is all about.  Find out how City Mission returns people to productive lives in the community.

rocket launch

If you would like to help support City Mission - please look over Ways to Help.  Donation to and Volunteering | Partnering with City Mission offers numerous ways that both individuals and groups can contribute to our efforts.

If you find yourself out shopping - don’t forget to “Thrift with a PURPOSE!”  Our Stores page will provide you with all the information you need whether it be:  Store Locations; Store Sales; and Warehouse Sales.  If you’re not out shopping, you can browse our Online Store.

Here at City Mission, we hope your online experience with citymission.org is more user friendly, providing fast access to the information you need inside a smartly designed, elegant user interface.

About City Mission:  For over 75 years, City Mission 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.

June 12, 2020
Gary Porter - Communications Manager
Gary Porter
Communications Manager
Gary has been with the mission since 2017. He writes many of our resident stories, getting to know many of them and seeing their transformations at the mission from the start.
gporter@citymission.org

Recent Articles

Staff Spotlight

Audrey at her desk
July 11, 2024

Our new friend, Audrey Flanagan, has joined the City Mission team for an 8-week marketing internship in our Development department! Specifically, she is helping us market for our eight City Mission Thrift Stores. We are excited to introduce her to you! Audrey grew up in Imperial, PA. She is very close with her family and loves spending time with them, especially traveling and going to sporting events with her parents and her sister. She graduated from Oakland Catholic High School, where she was a rower on the Crew team and a member of the Student Council Executive Board. Currently, she’s enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, following in her older sister’s footsteps. She’ll be entering her Junior year in August and is pursuing a degree in Marketing from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Audrey was really into science and engineering when she was in high school, but she wanted to pursue a career in something more people-oriented, so she found marketing. “I love that it’s about understanding people and how they think and what motivates them,” she said about what drew her to marketing. “And I also really like that it’s creative and that it’s always changing.” Audrey is specifically interested in Sports Marketing, and she also has a dream of one day becoming a Sports Agent. “I love the atmosphere at sporting events,” she said, explaining her love for sports. “So many people coming together to all watch the same thing at the same time…even if they’re on two different sides. And I think it’s really cool that so much goes on behind the scenes to make it happen. I want to learn more about that.” Audrey has already gained loads of experience in sports media and sports marketing from her work opportunities at Notre Dame, working with Fighting Irish Media and interning with the Steelers last summer. When City Mission’s Internship opportunity showed up in her inbox, she felt compelled to respond. “I had a lot of sports marketing experience at Notre Dame, and I wanted to try something different,” she said, “to learn another side of marketing.” During her brief time here at City Mission, she has already proven to be a very capable employee, a very hard worker, and a very quick learner. She listens well, communicates clearly, and approaches challenging projects with confidence. Thank you, Audrey, for everything you are doing for City Mission! Fast Facts about Audrey… Favorite Sport Football Favorite Sports Team Steelers Favorite Ice Cream Cookies and Cream Favorite Music Taylor Swift Favorite Movie “I always fall asleep in movies. I’m a terrible movie person. But Soul Surfer is probably my favorite.” Favorite Food Seafood or Pasta Favorite Restaurant The Melting Pot – “It’s a fondue place. It’s so good. And it’s interactive. It’s my go-to for Birthday dinners.” Favorite Vacation Spots Turks and Caicos Chincoteague Island, VA

Empowerment Through Work

Joe working
July 2, 2024

In the heart of City Mission lies a transformative space known as the Career Training and Education Center (CTEC). Here, amidst the challenges of homelessness, addiction, and chronic health issues, our residents find hope for the future through job training and education. The CTEC's mission is clear: to support our residents in their efforts to find fulfilling and sustaining work in their journey toward stability and independence. “We try to give our residents the resources to help them make better decisions,” said Brianna Kadlecik, City Mission’s Manager of Career Services, “And all of that happens before they even start their job search. It’s about giving people the power to do something for themselves. Sometimes that takes therapy, counseling, resources, medication, training, documentation, or a deeper spiritual walk with God. But all of those skills that they learn here at the Mission carry through the process of getting a job and help them to keep the job once they have it.” Getting Ready for Work “We empower our residents for work by focusing on what they do well instead of on what they can’t do,” Kadlecik explained. “We use their strengths to work on and build up the areas where they struggle or the things they aren’t doing as well.” We conduct strengths-based career assessments, provide work readiness opportunities, offer resume-building assistance, and connect residents to job training services to prepare them to find and to keep a meaningful career they can be proud of. • Vocational Training Programs: Within the past year, City Mission has connected residents to training opportunities in various fields such as CDL (Commercial Driver's License), paralegal studies, and phlebotomy. These programs equipped our residents with in-demand skills, thereby increasing their employment opportunities. • On-the-Job Training: Residents gain practical experience as part of our work readiness program, by working in different departments within the Mission, including the kitchen, maintenance, janitorial, administration, career center, and development. This hands-on training helps residents develop both job-specific and soft skills. “The goal of our work readiness program is to allow residents to contribute to the work of the Mission,” explained Kadlecik, “and help them develop skills and experiences that will help them in their work journey moving forward.” • Certifications: Through partnerships with local organizations, City Mission offers certifications that can significantly enhance employability. Residents can earn certifications like ServSafe Food Handler, OSHA 10, Forklift operator, and other advanced certificates, which can lead to higher wages and better job prospects. • Career Support Services: The Mission assists residents with resume-building, online job searching, and securing necessary identification documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, and state IDs. This support is crucial for residents to successfully apply for jobs and benefits. Last year, we assisted 129 residents in securing jobs, facilitated the acquisition of 484 ID cards, and helped residents obtain 911 certifications. This year, we are thrilled by our growth and remain committed to fostering relationships with local businesses and volunteers. Here’s Why We Do It… “It’s about relationship-building from the start,” said Kadlecik. “If our residents learn to trust you in the beginning with small things like getting a drivers’ license or an ID, then they can trust you in the big things, like career advice. If they trust enough to ask for help and then they receive help, they begin to see more potential in themselves – that they can do more than they ever thought they could.” Dignity and Purpose Providing work opportunities at the Mission for our residents instills a sense of dignity and purpose. When they can contribute positively to the family here at the Mission through meaningful work, they experience a restoration of their value and self-worth. Once they move on to a job outside of the Mission, that sense of dignity and purpose goes with them and empowers them to take their work seriously and to want better for themselves. This sense of dignity and purpose can lead them to recognize and appreciate the divine purpose for their lives, bringing them closer to God as they align their actions with His plan for them. Community and Fellowship Employment and job training programs often foster a sense of community and fellowship among the homeless population. As they work alongside others, share experiences, and support each other in their journey towards stability, they experience a deeper connection with their fellow human beings. This sense of community mirrors the biblical concept of fellowship and unity among believers, which helps our residents gain a greater understanding God's love for His people and the importance of mutual support and encouragement for the community. Stewardship and Gratitude Employment and the ability to earn a living allow the homeless to be good stewards of the resources God has provided them. As they learn to manage their finances, make responsible choices, and contribute positively to society, they develop a sense of gratitude for the blessings in their lives. This gratitude fosters a closer relationship with God as they recognize His provision and blessings, leading them to trust in His faithfulness and guidance in their journey towards self-sufficiency and spiritual growth. “My first job is to love,” Kadlecik said. “We can do nothing greater than to love. Our residents learn to love themselves, because we show love to them before they even love themselves. Then, they learn to make healthier decisions, because they actually care about themselves and they can begin to invest in a future that really matters. Love is the greatest gift I can give anyone here.” Donate Today With your support, we can continue to help our residents discover sustainable and meaningful careers. Please consider donating today and help us make a difference in the lives of those seeking hope and a better future. Every donation, big or small, helps us fulfill this Mission and bring light to those in need. If you prefer not to make your donation online, you can send it by check to the following address: 84 W. Wheeling Street, Washington, PA 15301. If you have any questions, please call us at: (724) 222-8530. Thank you for your generosity and support!

"A Safe Space"

June is Men's Mental Health Awareness Month
June 27, 2024

Men’s mental health is an extremely important topic, and over the past few years, we at City Mission have seen an increasing need for mental health services for the men who come through our doors. “We’re definitely seeing an increase,” said Peggy Nagy, one of City Mission’s Men’s Housing Coordinators. “And the severity is increasing too. Four years ago, with COVID, a lot of men lost their jobs or became separated from their families and with that they lost their purpose or their identity. And the isolation of that time exacerbated any symptoms of anxiety and depression they may have had the disposition to.” “Unassigned money and unassigned time is the perfect storm for mental health issues,” added Matt Chase, another one of City Mission’s Housing Coordinators for men. “And a lot of people experienced both during COVID. And they’re still feeling the effects of it today.” Men Tend to Avoid Mental Health Treatment According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “6,000,000 men in the United States experience depression each year,” and “nearly 1 in 10 men experience some form of depression or anxiety but less than half seek treatment.” Nagy explains, “Many men avoid dealing with mental health issues, because they don’t want to be seen as weak. And often they can’t identify the source of the problem, so it feels like weakness to them.” “Or it’s just overwhelming,” added Chase. “They don’t know where to start, and they’re not typically in a place in their lives where they know how to advocate for themselves, because they’re just so focused on survival from day to day that they can’t see the big picture.” Connecting to External Supportive Services At City Mission, we’re not a mental health facility, so our job is to connect our residents to outside supports to get them the counseling, therapy, or medication they need. But connecting our residents to outside mental health support can be a significant barrier to the success of our residents who struggle with mental health. “There’s just not enough agencies and services available,” said Chase. “The whole field is underfunded and understaffed. The turnaround time before we can get them the help they need is often difficult. They have to wait sometimes 30 to 60 days.” Safe Spaces A crucial aspect of our care for men with mental health issues is to create safe spaces for them to share their problems, and we advocate for them and build a team around them while we teach them to advocate for themselves. “We hold space for them to lament,” said Nagy. “We create a safe space for them to talk through their problems and learn more about themselves and help them know that they have someone who loves them and will fight for them no matter what.” “We share the gospel always, but we use words only when necessary,” Chase added. “We show them Christ’s love first through our actions.” Sharing the love of Christ with everyone who walks through our doors is crucial to the success of our Mission, and for men struggling with mental health, that unconditional love helps give them the confidence to trust our staff. Building trust or developing that therapeutic alliance with our team helps them know they don’t have to go through this alone. This trust helps them to open doors to their recovery that they have kept shut their whole lives. Grief and Trauma A startling statistic regarding men’s mental health comes from Mental Health America: men are more than four times more likely than women to die by suicide. The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains it this way, “about four out of every five completed suicides is a guy” (If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to reach the Crisis & Suicide Lifeline). Unresolved grief and trauma are very often the basis of mental health issues for men, and often the trauma can be traced all the way back to childhood, so it is so deeply embedded into their everyday lives that they aren’t able to see it as the source of their problems. And that can be extremely scary, because they can’t identify it or control it or even know how to begin the process of dealing with it. That overwhelming sense of confusion can lead to severe embarrassment and shame, which opens the door to depression and anxiety and a host of other mental health issues. It also opens the door to addiction as they try to self-medicate. Surprisingly, drug and alcohol dependency often begins as a solution to a problem, a way of coping with the unseen grief and trauma that is wrecking their lives. Eventually, drugs and alcohol become an even greater problem that creates a destructive spiral. You Can Help At City Mission we offer radical hospitality for those who are hurting, following Christ’s example of meeting people where they are and treating them with dignity and respect no matter what who they are or what they’ve done. You can support our efforts to walk with our residents through the challenges of grief and trauma and help give them the tools to restore their lives. Visit www.citymission.org to learn more.

7 Facts About Homeless Veterans

Veteran Resident in his dorm at the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House
June 18, 2024

As of 2023, there are approximately 18.3 million veterans in the United States. Despite government efforts to prioritize homeless veterans, on any given night, about 35,000 veterans across the country are still without a home. The failure to support our veterans is painfully evident here in Pennsylvania as well, where, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), veterans make up nearly 11% of the homeless adult population in the state. In terms of homeless veterans, Pennsylvania ranks 8th among other states, falling behind California, Florida, Texas, Washington, Oregon, New York and Arizona. At City Mission, we’re proud of our commitment to help veterans. They served us. Now, let’s serve them. In 2018, we opened the doors to our Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House, a 22-bed facility built specifically to house our veterans program, led by veterans and designed to meet the specific needs of homeless veterans. This program supports our veterans as they navigate through the most challenging times of the lives, not only by helping to heal their bodies and minds but also by restoring their faith in God. “I thought I came to the Mission because I needed surgery, 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. I’m completely healed now. I feel great. I got my energy back. I couldn’t have done it without God, but City Mission has been the vessel.” -John, US Army Veteran Even though we are excited about our work with veterans, we know there is more work to be done. Here are some facts you should know about homeless veterans and how you can help. Veterans Are More Likely to Become Homeless Veterans are more likely to become homeless than non-veterans. PTSD, substance abuse, and a lack of affordable housing all contribute to this. Although they make up only 7% of the general population, veterans represent about 13% of the homeless adult population. Opioid Addiction Fuels Homelessness Among Veterans Opioid addiction is a significant problem among homeless veterans. Many turn to opioids to deal with pain and mental health issues, but it ends up worsening their situation and eventually destroying their lives. Veterans are twice as likely to die from opioid overdose than the general population. Rising Homelessness Among Female Veterans Homelessness among female veterans has risen sharply, increasing nearly 24% from 2020 to 2023. This highlights the need for gender-specific support. Female veterans face unique challenges, including higher rates of sexual trauma and family instability. At City Mission, female veterans stay in our Women’s shelter or Women with Children Shelter, and they participate in our homeless veterans’ program. Racial Disparities Among Veterans African American and Hispanic veterans are disproportionately affected by homelessness. They face higher risks of mental health and substance abuse disorders, as well as higher rates of homelessness compared to white veterans. Veteran Homelessness Sees Significant Increase Veteran homelessness has spiked significantly, the largest increase in 12 years. There was a 7.4% rise in veteran homelessness from 2022 to 2023. The end of pandemic-related eviction moratoriums and a lack of affordable housing are major factors. Thousands of Veterans Sleep on the Streets Every Night Despite efforts, about 35,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. This shows the ongoing challenge and the need for continued support to address veteran homelessness effectively. Veterans Need Our Help Veterans have given so much to protect our country and the freedoms that make us proud to be Americans. Yet, many face the harsh reality of homelessness when they return to civilian life. Whether due to PTSD, substance abuse, or just a lack of affordable housing, it’s our duty to take care of our former service members and show them the same respect, support, and compassion they showed us through their service. The rising number of female veterans experiencing homelessness and the significant spikes in overall veteran homelessness make it clear: our veterans need our support and by coming together as a community, we can ensure our Vets get the help they deserve. How You Can Help There are many ways to donate to continue to support City Mission’s efforts at the Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans house. Donate online, by check to City Mission, 84 W Wheeling St, Washington, PA 15301, or call (724) 222-8530 Sources/References: https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/11/08/the-changing-face-of-americas-veteran-population/ https://www.dmva.pa.gov/Veterans/SpecialInitiatives/Pages/HomelessVeterans.aspx https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/homeless-population-by-state https://news.va.gov/126913/veteran-homelessness-increased-by-7-4-in-2023/ https://www.research.va.gov/topics/homelessness.cfm#:~:text=Veterans%20discharged%20for%20misconduct%20have,dramatically%20higher%20rates%20of%20homelessness https://americanaddictioncenters.org/veterans/opioid-addiction https://counciloncj.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/pdf-racial-disparities-among-veterans.pdf https://www.military.com/daily-news/2024/01/31/va-sets-annual-record-placing-homeless-veterans-housing-sheltering-more-46000-people.html#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20homeless%20veterans,by%204%25%20overall%20since%202020.

Standing in the GAP

Homeless man with sign
June 6, 2024

Standing in the GAP The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a non-profit founded in 1974, produces an annual GAP Report to demonstrate the need for more affordable homes in the United States. In March, they published their 2024 GAP report, which once again shows a dire shortage of affordable housing. “The United States has long faced a significant shortage of affordable rental housing,” the report begins. It goes on to say, “The shortage of affordable housing has worsened over the past few years, exacerbated by rising rent prices and job and wage losses during the pandemic. Although most economic indicators suggest the economy is recovering, the supply of affordable housing for the nation’s lowest-income renters remains deeply inadequate.” The report identifies extremely low-income households and defines them as those “at or below either the federal poverty guideline or 30% of the area median income, whichever is greater.” These households comprise about 25% of all renters in the US, and in 2023 they experienced a “shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes, resulting in only 34 affordable and available homes for every 100 extremely low-income households.” The 2024 GAP Report also demonstrates that the lack of affordable housing is worse now than before the pandemic, indicating that the shortage of affordable and available housing for extremely low-income households increased by 480,000 between 2019 and 2022. And an unbelievable 74% of all extremely low-income households are severely cost-burdened, meaning that they spend over 50% of their income on rent. These statistics are devastating, but at City Mission, we know that our model for restoring individuals to independent living has been working in Washington County and beyond for 83 years. We believe that our Christ-centered and holistic approach to life-recovery can truly change lives and transform a community. And we are assured that many of you believe that too, because you continue to overwhelm us with your compassionate and generous giving. You are truly making a positive impact in a world and a community in need. In 2023, City Mission helped 158 individuals and families find sustainable housing. We helped 129 of our residents obtain jobs. We served 1,436 neighbors in need this past year with an overall success rate of 69% for those who stayed at least 90 days. The need in the US and in our community is growing…but so is City Mission. Just last month, we broke ground on a new shelter for homeless women. Sally’s Sanctuary will house 50 women in our long-term program, nearly doubling our capacity to serve homeless women and increasing overall capacity from 174 beds to over 200. Your support of City Mission can change the world one life at a time. Supporting City Mission is one way you can stand in the gap for those in need. Visit www.citymission.org to learn more.

Preventing Summer Hunger

Boy eating lunch
June 3, 2024

Preventing Summer Hunger School meals play a crucial role in ensuring the health and nutrition of many children in our community. However, when school is out for the summer, those who rely on free meals face an increased risk of hunger. Unfortunately, in our communities, the meal provided at school is often the only substantial one some children receive each day. The Impact: The lack of sufficient food during the summer months can lead to heightened behavioral and emotional issues in children. This food insecurity also places additional stress on parents, impacting their mental health. Parents who struggle to provide for their families face increased stress and anxiety, affecting their mental health and overall well-being. How You Can Help: Your support can make a significant difference in preventing this summer hunger crisis. You can help relieve the anxiety of parents and ensure that children receive the nutrition they need during the summer. Join us in our mission to combat summer hunger at City Mission! 1. Monetary Donations: Your contribution during our Love Your Neighbor Campaign can provide an extra meal for a hungry child and support families in need. Donate to our campaign here: http://bit.ly/3R9BQU9 2. In-Kind Contributions: a. In Person: You can donate food items or fresh produce at our Samaritan Care Center, open Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm. Address: 84 West Wheeling St., Entrance A4, Washington, Pa 15301 b. Online: You can donate food items directly to our food pantry through our Amazon Wish List! View and purchase from our wish list here: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/33Y596BBAEWUZ?ref_=wl_share Together, we can ensure that no family goes hungry this summer. Donate today and make a meaningful impact in your community. Thank you for your support!