Helping the Homeless in Allentown

New Bethany Ministries, which has attacked the homeless problem in Bethlehem for nearly 25 years, has the final $250,000 it needs to launch its first project in Allentown. At a news conference Monday, community leaders announced the funding that completes a $460,000 plan to turn a former Grace Episcopal Church building at 112 N. Fifth St. into a group home.

[snip, snip, snip]

Renovation of the three-story Allentown building is expected to begin in April and a midsummer opening is anticipated. It is to include the six rooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, three bathrooms and a laundry facility. The top floor will be used for meetings. Grace Episcopal, which sold New Bethany the building for half its value, had used the building for an AIDS outreach program until its funding was cut. The Lehigh County Conference of Churches, which administers programs for the poor, will choose who will live in the group home. The coalition of 140 area churches will provide rent subsidies and social services. Grace Episcopal Church, which is next door to the future group home, will also provide services.

[snip, snip, snip]

New Bethany offers single-occupancy units at other locations: 10 in Bethlehem and 13 in Coplay. It also offers temporary housing in Bethlehem, serves nearly 200 lunches a day and provides other services. New Bethany is also planning a $2 million hospitality center with laundry facilities, showers and affordable housing at the shuttered Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church in south Bethlehem. New Bethany is scheduled to close on the property April 1.

New Bethany Ministries, community operated, is owned by the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Read more.

––posted by Bill Lewellis
from a story in The Morning Call, Feb. 2, 2010

$250,000 awarded to Grace and New Bethany for group home project

$250,000 grant awarded to Grace Episcopal Church Allentown and New Bethany Ministries Bethlehem to work together on a group home project in Allentown

Grace Episcopal Church, Allentown, and New Bethany Ministries of Bethlehem received a Federal Home Loan Bank grant of $250,000 for a project they have undertaken together –– the renovation of a vacant building in Allentown that will be used as a group home for chronically homeless individuals. The grant was awarded on October 16.

Continue reading "$250,000 awarded to Grace and New Bethany for group home project" »

Unprecedented hunger in the Lehigh Valley

April 6, 2009

[The following op-ed was published in The Morning Call. The Rev Bil Kuntze is executive director of New Bethany Ministries in South Bethlehem, an ecumenical ministry of the Diocese of Bethlehem]

Today's economic crisis is weighing heavily on nearly all Americans as jobs, lifestyles, housing and higher education are changed or at risk.

But for many Lehigh Valley residents, the severe drop in the national economy is leading to unprecedented need for food assistance, a basic element of human survival, from the area's food pantries. At New Bethany Ministries, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of clients who come for our noontime meal, which, for many is the only hot food they eat all day. There also is an increase in the number of households that receive grocery assistance from our food pantry.

In the last year, we have increased our on-site daily meals from an average of 125 guests per day to about 230. Last year, we distributed 3,172 grocery baskets, with at least a three-day supply of food for an entire household, providing an astounding 155,475 off-site meals. In 2009, the number of households receiving emergency grocery assistance from New Bethany Ministries may double.

Continue reading "Unprecedented hunger in the Lehigh Valley" »