The Beatitude House has been helping disadvantaged women and children for 25 years, and the organization now has a new executive director.
Sister Janet Gardner of St. Francis of the Providence of God, which is based in Pittsburgh, is taking over from Ursuline Sister Patricia McNicholas, who is stepping into a new role with the Beatitude House. Sister Janet said the agency still is being run by the Ursuline nuns, but it now will be more of a collaboration between her order and the Ursulines.
Sister Janet helped get a similar organization, Sister’s Place, started in Pittsburgh. That organization also was aimed at helping homeless women and children with transitional and permanent housing.
She also was involved in Covenant House in New York City, which assisted with getting young people off the streets and into emergency shelters as well as a mother-child program there.
Beatitude House provides transitional and permanent housing for homeless women and children. Sister Janet said the agency works closely with area shelters and also provides support services, such as child care, education, advocacy and parenting skills.
“The goal is to make them independent financially and emotionally, as well as to care for their children,” she said.
Beatitude House has five locations in three counties: Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula. There are five units with four to 12 apartments in each, and there also are 28 scattered sites for permanent, supportive housing.
Sister Janet said the units are mostly filled all the time, and there is a waiting list.
“There is a great need for our services,” she said.
To illustrate the need, Sister Janet said there are 45 people on the waiting list for the Ashtabula site, and it is the smallest county served by Beatitude House.
Sister Janet said the transition has been smooth because the organization already has such a firm foundation. However, she said she would like to see the agency adapt to the changing needs of the community. She said one area she wants to strengthen is the child advocacy program of the Beatitude House, particularly education.
“The government gives funding for employment and housing, but you need the education aspect,” Sister Janet said.