On June 6, our team members gathered in Harrisburg for Home Matters Day, organized  by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. Home Matters Day brought together organizations from all across the state to advocate for a funding increase for Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE). This is a flexible funding source that allows communities to address housing needs in their community, including homelessness, blight, and affordable housing construction. One New Bethany client who benefited from PHARE funding is Carmen. Carmen came to New Bethany believing she had nowhere else to go. After immigrating from the Dominican Republic, Carmen settled into an apartment in Lehigh Valley, where she worked as a home health aide. For seven years, Carmen worked hard to support her elderly, disabled mother back home– until one day, she was unexpectedly evicted from her apartment. Carmen’s building was sold to new owners, who planned to close it down for renovations, giving Carmen only 30 days to move out.
Between the responsibility of providing for her mother and the exhaustion of picking up extra shifts, the pressure was too much for Carmen. Her mental health declined, leaving her very little hope. New Bethany was her last chance.
Carmen walked into our Housing Advocacy and Assistance office, requesting a security deposit and first-month’s rental assistance. New Bethany not only provided Carmen with financial assistance but also helped Carmen find a perfect new apartment. Since Carmen had little notice, she needed a landlord who would allow her to move in before the payment was even processed. New Bethany’s excellent reputation and relationships made through a PHARE-funded Landlord Engagement program made this possible for Carmen. Her new landlord had previously worked with New Bethany, so he trusted Carmen and proceeded with her application process. At New Bethany, we give clients like Carmen hope for a fresh start.