"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."

Lives Changed by Generosity of Others
“Watching the self-esteem of our residents grow day by day, seeing them regain the hope they’d lost, and celebrating with them as they achieve milestones on the way to the life they are capable of leading… this is the true impact and for me, the real reward,” Bowers says.

The Martha & Mary House is funded by generous contributions from local individuals, families, businesses and churches. The shelter can assist up to 15 people at one time, including individuals, families, veterans, seniors, individuals with disabilities, or anyone without a current residence, as long as they previously had a Cambria county residence for at least 90 days.

The Martha & Mary House Homeless Shelter in Johnstown

Success Stories
Bowers wants the community to know that the Martha & Mary House is more than an overnight shelter; it is a program that teaches the skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency and safe, sustainable housing.

She offers several examples of success stories she’s witnessed first-hand:

“Last year we assisted a mom with two teenagers. She was dealing with a chronic illness, and was just getting by when their home became uninhabitable. The three of them arrived feeling many different emotions, but over the course of their stay they grew together as a family and developed a plan for a new life. They found safe, stable housing in which they still reside. We are thrilled that they continue to keep in touch and share the positive things they are accomplishing.”

“We recently served a Vietnam veteran who moved in with only the clothes he was wearing. Our staff helped him obtain veterans services and medical assistance, clothing, food assistance and longer-term housing. As part of his plan, he also rebuilt relationships with some members of his family. He continues to work with the veterans association and still lives in the apartment he obtained. Before he left the shelter, he offered the staff a thank you card saying they were angels who had been sent by God to restore his hope and save his life.”

Help Sustain this Valuable Community Resource: How to Give
According to Bowers, the generous community spirit Cambria county is the key to enabling the shelter to change so many lives on a local level.

We are blessed to have the support of so many people, churches and businesses in Cambria county so that we can assist our residents in working toward living full lives,” she says. “So many Americans—including many right here in our neighborhoods—are just a paycheck away from needing help. Giving locally to an organization like Martha & Mary House makes a life-changing impact for individuals who have nowhere else to turn.

Bowers says financial donations allow the shelter to address areas of greatest need. Personal care items, food and clothing are also accepted as contributions, including items such as: toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, nutritious non-perishable food items, laundry pods, socks, undergarments, sweat pants, t-shirts and sweatshirts.

About the Martha & Mary House
The Martha & Mary House, operated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, is located at 899 Bedford Street and is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each resident enrolled in the shelter’s program works with a dedicated staff member to create and achieve financial and personal milestones and safe, sustainable housing.

Click here to watch news coverage of the open house on WJAC-TV.

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