Eileen McKeating, in a Jan. 8 letter to the editor, noted that our homeless system needed better coordination of services for homeless mothers. While I agree, I also see glimmers of hope woven into our current system.
A few months ago, at Bethlehem Haven, we moved a young woman, whom I will call Leslie, into permanent housing after helping her to find employment, health care and mental health care. Leslie surprised me right before Christmas when she saw me walking from my bus stop and asked if I needed a ride. My home was only a block away so I chose to walk, but I was extremely humbled by her offer of a ride. I was proud of Leslie, her shiny new 10-year-old car, her hard work and her transformation from homelessness to housing and self-sufficiency.
Working with Leslie would not have been possible without strong service coordination with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, local foundations, many faith community volunteers and the United Way of Allegheny County United for Women Fund along with the 211 PA Southwest help line.
Of course, our system is not perfect. We do need stronger state and federal housing policy and public advocacy for increased safety net funding. We also need to collectively value the lives of all women and children enough to give, volunteer and advocate year-round.
Leslie’s story of triumph need not be isolated. She is indeed a glimmer of hope and must be celebrated.
LOIS MUFUKA MARTIN