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Martha & Mary House celebrates two-year anniversary

JOHNSTOWN -- Tuesday marked two years since a homeless shelter in Cambria County opened its doors.

The Martha & Mary House opened on March 7, 2015.

The house, located in the 800 block of Bedford Street of Dale Borough. is the only homeless shelter in the county, providing opportunities for residents to get back on their feet.

"We've helped over 200 families since Oct. 1, 2016. We've exited 34 families, and out of those 34, 55 percent have obtained stable and secure housing. To me, that's a major accomplishment," said Danielle Bowers, director of Martha & Mary House.

Each resident enrolled in the shelter's program works with a dedicated staff member to create and achieve financial and personal milestones, said Bowers.

"Our goal is to help them be able to stand on their own two feet when they leave our doors," she said.

The success stories are endless. Bowers said one is about a local veteran.

"In September 2016, a local vet contacted us. He'd been living in car and was disabled," Bowers said, "He couldn't get ahead. He came to us and said he lost hope and I don't know where to go from here."

In 25 days, Bowers said staff was able to connect the man with a veterans' association in Altoona as well as helping him obtain a stable and secure home.

The shelter can assist up to 15 people at a time, including men, women, children, veterans and those with disabilities.

"When someone comes into our shelter, we look at where they’re at right now in their face, we look at the goals and obstacles they have and work with them to overcome them," said Bowers.

The Martha & Mary House is funded by the federal government and through different grants across the county.

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