a little about...

Our Vision and Mission

Our vision is to build a future with hope.

Our mission is to help individuals and families, who are experiencing homelessness, achieve their God-given potential by providing a holistic program of stable housing, supportive services, and loving relationships. 

History of Brethren Housing Association

Founded in 1989

Brethren Housing Association was founded in 1989 by two Church of the Brethren congregations that wanted to answer God’s call to help the poor, particularly those individuals and families experiencing homelessness. They knew they couldn’t do it on their own, so these two congregations, Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren and Hanoverdale Church of the Brethren (near Hershey, Pa.), partnered together in the mission. Their vision started with one property, providing short-term bridge housing to homeless families. Counseling was initially provided to the families by pastors of these two churches.  At this time BHA was entirely volunteer-run.

Within a couple years, several more area congregations got involved, and these eight partner congregations (official “members” in the association) were the basis of the ministry. As the ministry grew, more properties were either donated or purchased to house more families.

By the mid-1990’s, the Board saw the need for more professional, in depth case management support for families, and entered into a partnership with Delta Housing, Inc. to provide case management services. For approximately five years BHA and Delta partnered together to provide transitional housing services to 16 families in BHA’s apartments. In 2001, this partnership was dissolved and BHA hired its own program staff to work with the families.

The 2000’s were marked by steady expansion of our support base, programs, properties and staff. In 2007 we were awarded a capacity building grant through the White House Office of Faith-Based Organizations. Through this funding, a program review and strategic planning process were conducted. These led to the launch of the 20/20 Vision Campaign in 2010, a $2.25 million organizational expansion effort. The campaign successfully completed in 2013 with over $2.52 million raised, housing capacity of BHA doubled, and new programs launched.

BHA Today

Today, BHA operates the following programs:

  • Housing Programs
    • Transitions: A transitional housing program for women and children who are experiencing homelessness.
    • Side-By-Side: permanent housing program for persons with a disability who are experiencing homelessness. 
    • Next Steps: A permanent housing program providing follow-up case management support, and in some cases rental assistance, to graduates of BHA’s other housing programs now living on their own in the community.
  • Other Programs
    • Bagwashi Circles: A mentoring program for the moms in our Transitions Program.
    • Light House Youth Program: A weekly program for children and youth, ages 0-18, whose families are or recently were part of BHA’s Transitions Program.
    • Housing Rehabilitation: We rehabilitate housing in Allison Hill to provide housing for homeless families in our Transitions Program.

BHA now owns ten properties with seventeen apartments available for families in our Transitions Programs. Another five apartments are under renovation.

Our staff has grown to include an Executive Director, Director of Operations, Director of Development, and five direct service staff including a Program Director, two Family Advocates, Youth Program Coordinator, and a Property Manager.

Today BHA has thirteen member churches, and many other supporting congregations, businesses, individuals, and grant-making organizations. In recent years we have broadened our base of support beyond the Church of the Brethren but still enjoy strong relations there. BHA is governed by an independent Board of Directors.