Opportunity House Addresses Need for Short-Term Housing for Families in Berks County
Reading, Pennsylvania…With temperatures dropping and winter weather in the forecast, Opportunity House is embarking on a new project that will provide short-term housing for homeless families in Berks County.
“Since 1984 Opportunity House has been the leader in providing emergency shelter and short-term housing for families with nowhere to go,” said Modesto Fiume, president of Opportunity House.
Opportunity House has seen an increase in calls from women with children who are homeless.“We needed more space to accommodate the increased need in the community,” noted Fiume. Thanks to a partnership between the City of Reading and Berks Coalition to End Homelessness and the Daniel Torres Hispanic Center, and Opportunity House, families will have a warm and safe place to stay during the winter months.
Beginning in early January 2024, the facility will provide short-term housing for families with children. Opportunity House will provide onsite case management, meals, and programming to help families develop a plan to become stably housed.
In the winter months, the need for shelter increases. Sleeping outdoors or in cars is not safe. Families need immediate help and can’t wait weeks to be approved for programs that may help families in need. “We are addressing the immediate needs in our community. We will provide the ongoing help and support parents need this winter to find long-term stable housing,” noted Fiume. By providing short-term housing, children remain in school creating much-needed stability and continuity in their lives.
Opportunity House provides emergency shelter to Berks County residents who are homeless. during Code Blue, Opportunity House will temporarily increase its capacity to provide shelter to men, women, and children who may be sleeping outdoors or in cars. Clients staying at Opportunity House receive three meals a day including snacks, a clean bed, access to showers, and laundry facilities.
Since 1987, Opportunity House has been the community’s primary resource providing shelter to over 500 clients each year. According to Modesto Fiume, president, Opportunity House continues to address the needs of our community. “We provide temporary shelter for people in need. Our goal is to stabilize individuals and families and help them find permanent housing.” During their stay at Opportunity House, clients receive individualized case management, life skills, and other resources to promote long-term housing stability. “We are passionate about empowering people to improve their lives. We help clients make lasting change for long-term success,” said Fiume.
Opportunity House is a Keystone 4-star Early Childhood Learning Center with programs for newborns, preschool, and after-school programs. The Pre-K Counts program ensures that every child meets the requirements for kindergarten. Over 125 families benefit from the program by providing quality daycare to low-income families, allowing parents to work, and providing economic stability for their families.
The Reuse & Recycle Program accepts gently used clothing and household items. These items are sold at OppShop, a retail thrift store, at 3045 5th Street Highway, in Muhlenberg. The store provides affordable clothing, housewares, furniture, books, CDs, and DVDs to the community. It’s a great way for families to get essential items at an affordable price. Our warehouse sorts and seperates items and recycles unsaleable items diverting over 1 million pounds from landfills each year. The Reuse & Recycle program creates jobs for formerly homeless clients allowing them to learn new skills that will enable them to find long-term, living wage jobs.
Opportunity House provides housing for over 100 clients through their transitional and permanent housing programs. These programs offer long-term support as part of the extended Opportunity House community. By providing ongoing support we can provide intervention and assistance to prevent future episodes of homelessness.
In 2024, Opportunity House will celebrate its 40th anniversary of providing emergency shelter for the homeless in Reading and Berks County, PA.