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"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."

Since its opening, the Martha & Mary House has helped more than 200 residents of Cambria County who’ve experienced homelessness and housing instability. At the reins of this operation is Danielle Bowers, who joined Catholic Charities as the Director of the Martha & Mary House in June.

“I get to work with wonderful people each day,” said Bowers. “I enjoy watching our houseguests grow and succeed. The self-confidence that they gain in themselves is a great joy!”

The Role of the Director

As the Director, Bowers’ duties run the gamut. She is involved in most aspects of the houseguests’ journeys—from screening protocols prior to their arrival to preparing them for success beyond the shelter. She coordinates with the community for donations, networks on behalf of the shelter, and secures vital resources for houseguests.

Bowers is also responsible for administrative duties and working with the shelter’s current staff of six.

“I pride myself with hiring, training, and developing staff members so that they can best serve those in need in our community,” she said.

Bowers’ Background

Bowers’ experience in education and public service has truly prepared her for the role of Director, and to make a positive impact on the individuals and families taking temporary residence at the shelter. She holds two bachelor’s degrees—one in elementary education and one in early childhood education.

She spent over six years in education before taking a job with Somerset Community Action in 2007 as the Coordinator of Welfare Employment Programs.

“In that position, I worked with low-income families on rebuilding their lives,” Bowers explained. “We assisted them with overcoming personal roadblocks which were preventing them from obtaining stability for themselves and their families.”

Those roadblocks included things like a lack of education, transportation, and housing. Many were dealing with mental health issues, or had a general lack of support and resources.

Bowers continued her education, and in May of 2016 she became a certified Career Counselor.

That same month, she heard about the director opening at the Martha & Mary House. Within days of applying, she had an interview and was told that she got the job.

“During my interview, I was drawn to the mission of the house, the job, and the impact that we could make assisting others to obtain a stable life for themselves and their family,” she said.

Services the Shelter Provides

All of the houseguests take part in programs to help them get back on their feet and be successful once they leave the house. These programs include:

  • Case management sessions with the director
  • Career development workshops
  • Goal setting and attainment
  • House meetings
  • Job search and stability
  • Housing search
  • Tools for overcoming roadblocks on their journey to self-sufficiency

The Martha & Mary House has rooms for women, men, and families, and can house up to 15 residents at a time.

Bowers is excited about the success she has seen at the shelter already, and she looks forward to helping others in need in Cambria County.

“Since starting here at the Martha & Mary House,” Bowers said, “I have seen each houseguest grow in one way or another.”

Martha & Mary House Homeless Shelter
Contact: Danielle Bowers
899 Bedford Street
Johnstown, PA
(814) 254-4413

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