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A homeless man who is discouraged, desperate, erring from life. homeless A homeless beggar handed
Providing shelter, safety and support to the housing compromised individuals and families of Cambria County

Individuals and households seeking emergency shelter assistance may apply through the online application provided below. All applicants will be processed and responded to within 24-48hrs of completing the pre-screening. Applicants may also apply via phone call to the shelter, but no walk up admissions are accepted. Once the application has been processed, shelter admissions are scheduled Monday-Friday between 10am-7pm, by shelter staff, for those who are deemed shelter eligible.

On March 2, 2015, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown officially opened its homeless shelter at 899 Bedford St. in Johnstown. The Martha & Mary House operates as the emergency shelter provider for residents of Cambria County who are actively experiencing homelessness.

The shelter can accommodate up to 15 individuals and/or families, and allows residents to remain in the shelter for a maximum of 30days.

Admission requirements to stay at the Martha and Mary Shelter are listed below for your reference.

“We know that sometimes home can be unsafe and complicated.  We are here to give you a space to rest, heal and build a better future story for yourself.”

In addition to offering a safe location to sleep and in shelter facilities to accommodate residents daily necessities, the Martha & Mary House helps individuals to create structured service plans to help in guiding residents back into permanent supportive housing within the community:

  • Individual case managers to help facilitate permanent housing placement
  • Internet access to help with job searches, resume writing and online service assistance applications.
  • Coordination of internal and external services through collaboration with the local community services network.
  • A physical address, required when applying for SNAP benefits

The Martha and Mary House is an ambitious and much-needed project that would not be possible without the many individuals, organizations, businesses, and churches of various denominations that have provided generous financial support to keep our doors open. Ongoing community support and collaboration with the localized health and human services network is necessary to sustain the shelter and accommodate the diverse needs of those who it serves.

What does the Martha and Mary House do for the community?

  • The Martha and Mary House provides shelter placement for actively homeless individuals and families who reside within Cambria County, Pennsylvania.

Does the Martha and Mary House provide Hotel Vouchers for individuals experiencing homelessness?

  • Prior to the opening of the shelter in 2015, there was a stretch of time when there was no emergency shelter in Cambria County. While the shelter was being built, catholic charities provided hotel vouchers as a means of sheltering those needing services during that time. Now that the shelter is open, clients who are seeking shelter are housed within the facility. There is no longer any formal programming or funding for hotel vouchers through this agency.

Why do we have to do a background check, and why do certain criminal offenses disqualify people from staying at the shelter?

  • The background check process was put into place as a request by the community, and the local criminal justice system. With the Martha and Mary House being the sole family shelter within the county, background checks are completed to ensure safety and security for those families and minors who are staying within the shelter. Additionally, it allows us to screen applicants to ensure that this facility is the best location for them to reside in given their present legal status. For example, an individual who will be soon going to prison to serve a sentence is not in a situation where taking them through the process of re-housing is going to be sustainable.

Why do we require that applicants must be a resident of Cambria County for minimum of 90 days prior to being qualified to enter the shelter?

  • The residency clause was another request that was issued by the community, and local health and human services network. When a client is not a resident of Cambria County, there are limited services that are available to assist them in their journey of achieving housing permanency. For this reason, we screen the individual to ensure that they are a legal resident of the county, and if not, direct them back to the service network within their home county so they can be served there in an efficient manner.

Does the shelter provide transportation for residents staying there?

  • The shelter does not have an internal means of transporting residents. However, the staff are equipped to assist individuals with getting reduced fare bus passes, coordinating medical transport and the shelter has its own bus stop in front of the facility.

Does the shelter provide financial housing and rent assistance?

  • While the shelter does not provide any financial services beyond allowing individuals to stay at the facility at no cost, we do provide care coordination to match clients up with applicable housing assistance program within the local service network.

When is the shelter able to admit clients?

  • The shelter admits clients Monday – Friday between 10am and 7pm. All intakes are scheduled by a shelter staff member on a case by case basis with the applicant. The shelter does not accept new clients into the facility after hours, or on weekends.

How can I help and support the shelter?

  • The shelter team always welcomes the support of the community! Please call us during business hours to learn more about present needs within the program.
  1. Actively homeless on the street (HUD Category 1 Homelessness) with all other options of permanent or temporary housing having been explored and exhausted prior to admissions.
  2. All clients must be current residents of Cambria County with proof of 90 day Cambria County Residency from each party applying. Examples of documents accepted to verify your resident are (Photo ID, Benefit Statement, Mail with a Cambria Address and postage date 90 days ago or more, Pay stubs, etc.)
  3. Background Check (Completed by us once application is received to screen for any Active criminal cases/charges, and any past charges of a violent or sexual nature)
  4. The shelter is fully ADA accessible, but due to our facility being non-medical, we cannot provide any form of hands on care. For this reason, all residents must be 100% independent with their ADL’s and IADL’s in order for their admission to be safe. This includes bathing/dressing/hygiene, shopping/preparing own meals, ability to utilize transportation independently, do ones laundry, clean/keep up both personal and communal areas, etc. Our program also requires residents to maintain compliance with all established internal and external services in order to remain in placement at the shelter.

Criminal Offenses:

  • Murder I, II, or III
  • Voluntary or Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Causing or Aiding Suicide
  • Drug Delivery Resulting in Death
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Terroristic Threats
  • Any Weapon’s Violations
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful Restraint
  • Arson
  • Armed Robbery
  • Concealing the Death of a Child
  • Endangering Welfare of a Child
  • Dealing in Infant Children
  • Intimidation or, or Retaliation Against, a Witness or Victim
  • Production or selling of methamphetamines
  • Manufacture, sale or distribution of illegal drugs/controlled substance
  • Drug-related felonious criminal activity


Sexual Offenses:

  • Rape
  • Statutory Sexual Assault
  • Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Incest
  • Obscene or other Sexual Material to a Minor
  • Obscene or other Sexual Material
  • Corruption of Minors
  • Sexual Abuse of Children
  • Some opportunities are still available to "adopt" rooms in the shelter; businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals can learn more by contacting Cindy O'Connor, Executive Director, at 814-944-9388.
  • Several churches have taken special collections or established special projects in support of the shelter; to organize a collection or drive for your church, contact Jean at the number above.
  • Make a financial contribution to assist with our annual operating costs

The Martha and Mary Shelter has served nearly 1,000 households within the 8 years since its inception. This includes 80 households within the last 18 months, with 66% of those households having secured new housing within the 30 day occupancy period of less.

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