New Bethany Ministries’ Diane Elliott Center
Strive, thrive and revive. Three words that occupy more than a slogan on a bumper sticker for New Bethany Ministries.
The concept fueled the Diane Elliott Center for Community Partnerships room, launched late last year. On May 22 a ribbon-cutting ceremony formally opened the room, which was completely remodeled and located in the organization’s old food pantry in the Mollard Hospitality Center at the corner of Fourth and Wynadotte streets.
The nonprofit provides food and hygiene support, wellness programing, transitional and permanent housing along with financial case management services to individuals and families working toward self-sufficiency.
“What we’ve been missing is the glue to connect all of these services together,” said Marc Rittle, New Bethany’s executive director, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Now we have a way.”
The refurbished room was designed by Elliott, the organization’s previous executive director, and Pamela Lewis, New Bethany’s partnership manager.
“This room is part of our mission to combat homelessness in the Lehigh Valley,” Rittle said.
The space contains two computers with Internet access that can be used by anyone for job searches and resume-building, he noted.
“This is a multi-purpose room to house life skills, training courses and case management services, which we have been doing and will continue to do,” Rittle said. “We also offer rental assistance to help keep people where they are at.”
Rittle maintains the room is more than just a space – it’s a space to turn hopes into reality.
“If you have a personal goal – you need to get a job, get a house, get a hot shower whatever your goal is – we’re here to help,” he said.
In Bethlehem, the core service area of New Bethany Ministries, nearly 20 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty level, according to the United States Census Bureau 2010-2014. Another 40 percent live in what is considered “substandard housing” and 4.5 percent of Bethlehem residents are uninsured.
New Bethany estimates that about 250 adults, ages 18 to 65, will be served during the Elliott Center’s inaugural year, including one-time and on-going services.
The Elliott Center will track employment and housing metrics, while life skills objectives will be tracked by community partners and then shared with New Bethany.