Penn State is known for its array of philanthropic programs, and students have the opportunity to help others all over the world. Hearts for Homeless, however, is a non-profit that aims to serve those right here in State College.
The program originated in 2008 when a State College church handed out winter gear and other resources to those in need in Pittsburgh. Hearts for Homeless then opened its official location on South Fraser Street in State College. Since then, the initiative has grown and the group aims to do its part to be a resource to those in need throughout Happy Valley.
The organization provides support to residents and students who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless. Resources offered include a drop-in center for basic necessities and job-searching tools, the Transitional Housing Program, and various employment workshop programs. Hearts for Homeless recognizes that no two situations are exactly alike — the group works to adapt to the needs of each individual.
“Sometimes that help looks like a ticket home, sometimes it’s placement in an apartment, sometimes it’s a phone call to repair a family relationship. Sometimes it’s rehab or an involuntary commitment to a hospital facility,” Executive Director Ginny Poorman said on the organization’s website. “From the sensitive to the extreme, whatever the need may be, we are committed to investing the time and resources it takes to figure out how to best serve each one.”
The organization also hosts various advocacy events throughout the community, such as the Homeless Awareness Sign Holding Event, Hike 4 Homeless, and Centre Gives. Hearts for Homeless also runs the Homeless in Happy Valley video series. The videos are part of an interview series in which members of the homeless community share their own personal experiences, as well as provide insight into the issue.
Hearts for Homeless does not receive government grants — instead, it relies solely on funding from community donations and volunteer work. Anyone who wishes to volunteer is welcome to apply and those interested can check out the application requirements here. For more information on the organization as a whole, you can visit the Hearts for Homeless website and official Facebook page.
If you need help or know someone else does, please visit this link or call the Hearts for Homeless office at 814-325-9471.