988 Hotline Strengthens Mental Health Support

Bucks County Housing Group Partners with PA Department of Human Services to Promote 988 Hotline

The 988 Hotline

In a world where mental health struggles are increasingly prevalent, access to immediate support is crucial. Bucks County Housing Group (BCHG) has taken a significant step in addressing this need by partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to promote the 988 mental health hotline. This collaboration underscores our commitment to supporting the mental well-being of the community we serve.

BCHG recognizes the interconnectedness of stable housing and mental health. As an organization dedicated to providing housing assistance, food, and support services to individuals and families in need, we see the need for mental health resources for our clients. Many of the individuals that we serve face various challenges, including mental health issues. Having access to reliable support is essential. The 988 hotline provides an immediate access point to those in need of mental health services.

The 988 hotline is crucial for those experiencing mental health emergencies. By dialing 988, individuals can connect with trained professionals who can provide guidance, support, and resources to help them navigate their situation. Support is always free and confidential.

Our Partnership

Our partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services aims to raise awareness about the 988 hotline within the community. Through our digital campaign, we are working to ensure that individuals in Bucks County are aware of this vital resource.

One of the key objectives of this partnership is to destigmatize mental health issues and encourage individuals to seek help when needed. By promoting the 988 hotline, we are sending a powerful message that mental health support is available, accessible, and free of judgment. Suicide prevention and crisis support are essential for safe, healthy communities. We must work together to normalize asking for help.

Moreover, this partnership aligns with BCHG’s broader mission of empowering individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency and stability. By providing access to mental health resources, we are not only addressing immediate crises but also supporting the long-term well-being of the community.

The significance of this partnership extends beyond just raising awareness. It embodies the collaborative efforts needed to address complex societal challenges. Through working together, BCHG and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services are leveraging our resources and expertise to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those struggling with mental health issues.

Conclusion

As we work together to raise awareness about the 988 hotline, partnerships like this serve as models for community-driven initiatives to promote mental health support. By coming together, organizations can amplify their impact and create a more supportive environment for individuals facing mental health challenges.

In conclusion, Bucks County Housing Group’s partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to promote the 988 mental health hotline exemplifies the proactive approach needed to address mental health issues in our communities. By raising awareness, reducing stigma, and providing access to immediate support, BCHG is playing a vital role in supporting the mental well-being of the individuals and families it serves. This partnership serves as a testament to the power of collaboration in creating positive change and ensuring that mental health remains a priority for all. Your mental health matters.

How It Will Impact Pennsylvanians, And What You Can Do About It

Introduction:


If Congress fails to act by January 19, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) will face a budget shortfall that could result in 2 million eligible families nationwide being turned away from the program. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) As an organization dedicated to providing essential services to vulnerable communities, BCHG is deeply concerned about the potential ramifications of the budget shortfall on the individuals and families utilizing our food program.

The WIC Program and The Budget Shortfall:


WIC is a crucial federal assistance program that provides nutrition education, healthy food, and support to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and young children. (USDA) Currently, the WIC program serves about half of all infants born in the United States. Unfortunately, the budget that Congress is currently considering will fund the program at a $1 billion shortfall. The shortfall will cost the same amount as funding six months of benefits to all pregnant women and infants participating in WIC. (USDA) Individual states will likely create waitlists to join the program as a result of the shortfall, and several eligible families will be turned away from receiving the assistance they need.

What this Means for Pennsylvania:

The WIC budget shortfall is projected to impact 51,000 Pennsylvanians by September 2024. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) To avoid such a stark impact, the USDA may choose to reallocate funding from their other programs toward WIC, but there is no guarantee that this will be feasible. There will likely also be a long-lasting impact on the perception of the WIC program. Turning eligible participants away due to inadequate funding will likely discourage people from applying in the future.

Impact on Our Food Pantries:


Our pantries and mobile markets are vital resources for those in need, offering a safe and reliable source of food in times of economic hardship. The potential increase in demand due to the WIC budget shortfall will place additional strain on these essential services. We anticipate welcoming new families to our pantries and mobile markets as a result of the shortfall. Demand for produce, milk, eggs, baby formula, and diapers will also likely increase. Finally, we anticipate an increase in the need for families who are already utilizing our programs. The level of support WIC will provide to those already on their programs is uncertain, so their need for food from our programs may increase.

How You Can Help:

  1. Contact Your Representatives:
    Use the form here to contact your elected representatives. Be an advocate for policies that prioritize the well-being of pregnant women, new mothers, and young children.
  2. Spread the Word:
    Share this blog, our website, and our social media with your network to help spread awareness about the WIC budget shortfall. as well as the resources that BCHG provides to combat food and housing security.
  3. Donate to BCHG:
    Monetary support and food donations make a significant difference in our ability to meet increased demand at our food pantries. Support our mission by donating to our cause to help us prepare for the influx of patrons at our pantries.
  4. Volunteer Your Time:
    Offer your time and skills to assist at BCHG’s food pantries or other programs. Volunteering is a hands-on way to contribute to the community and support vulnerable individuals and families.
  5. Organize Food Drives:
    Coordinate food drives with local businesses, schools, and community groups. Collecting non-perishable items can help ensure that our food pantries remain well-stocked to meet the growing demand.

Conclusion:


The WIC budget shortfall is a challenge that will require collective action and community support. By raising awareness, advocating for policy change, and contributing to organizations like ours, we can make a positive impact on the lives of those facing food insecurity. Together, let’s ensure that every individual has access to the nutrition and support they need for a healthy future.

Written By: Amanda McGill

Join us as we Frost Forward

Winter has officially arrived, and as the chill settles in, our Bucks County community is preparing once again to come together with warmth in our hearts and a purpose in our steps. We at BCHG, in collaboration with our partners at the Serving Bucks Together Center (YWCA Bucks County, Bucks County Opportunity Council, and Family Service Association of Bucks County), are thrilled to host the Doylestown Coldest Night of the Year walk again this year. On February 24th, join us for an event that goes beyond a simple stroll; CNOY is a crucial step toward hope, support, and change.

What is Coldest Night of the Year?

CNOY aims to raise vital funds and awareness for individuals and families facing the harsh realities of homelessness and hunger during these bitterly cold months. CNOY takes place in communities across the USA and Canada. Funds raised at CNOY support the local charities that host the event, and at our Doylestown walk, they support the Serving Bucks Together collaboration. Participants can choose either a 2km or a 5km walk. This allows walkers of all ages and abilities to take part and show their support. Whether you’re an avid walker or simply passionate about making a positive impact, there’s a place for everyone. After crossing the finish line, you will be treated to warm drinks and delicious treats — a gesture of gratitude for your contribution to this meaningful cause. So, are you ready to #FrostForward?

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Register: Click here to join BCHG’s team, Frost Forward, or click here to learn more and start your own team!
  2. Fundraise: Spread the word! Share your fundraising goal with friends, family, and colleagues. Every dollar raised will directly impact the lives of those in need.
  3. Donate: Can’t make it to the event but still want to support? Donate to our team directly by clicking here!
  4. Volunteer: Support the event by volunteering! Click here to find the Doylestown location and view available volunteer positions.
  5. Walk with Purpose: Join us on February 24th for an unforgettable evening. Together, we can make a real difference in our communities.

By participating in CNOY, you’re making strides toward a brighter, warmer future for our community’s most vulnerable, one step at a time. So, what are you waiting for? Registration is easy and free. Join us, because it’s cold out there.

More About the Serving Bucks Together Center

The SBT Center opened in early 2022 to allow Bucks County nonprofits to work together to better serve our communities. Furthermore, the SBT Center serves as a safe space for people to access resources they may need, such as emergency assistance with rent and utilities, homeownership counseling, financial literacy, and long-term self-sufficiency services like education and employment planning. This marks our second year hosting the Bucks County CNOY event, and we are incredibly grateful for all the support. Funds raised at CNOY directly support our efforts at the SBT Center.

CNOY USA Homepage

BCHG Homepage

Written by: Hannah Borish

Reflecting on 2023 and Looking Ahead to the New Year

Welcome to BCHG‘s 2023 Wrapped: Our Year in Review! As we bid farewell to another eventful year, it’s time to reflect on the milestones, achievements, challenges, and moments that defined the journey for Bucks County Housing Group over the past twelve months. From program expansion, partnerships new and old, and community engagement, join us as we delve into the highlights and pivotal events that shaped our path in 2023. Embrace the nostalgia and anticipation as we unwrap the story of our year—a narrative woven with progress, resilience, and the collective efforts of our team and supporters. Scroll through the slideshow below to check out some of our favorite moments from 2023:

We are excited about the new opportunities, challenges, and chances to grow coming in 2024. Thank you for your support and partnership with BCHG. Our work is only possible because of your dedication to our mission. We can’t wait to continue to close the door on hunger and homelessness with you in the new year.

Want more of our 2023 Wrapped? Check out the video below:

BCHG 2023 Wrapped by Amanda McGill

While the holiday season fills many hearts with joy and warmth, it’s important to recognize that for some, it can bring about unexpected hardships and challenges. To ensure that the spirit of giving extends to those in need, we invite you to join us in making a meaningful difference through a holiday-themed drive. Together, let’s spread comfort, support, and joy to those who may find this season particularly challenging.

For your drive, you can ask for donations of food, clothing, and/or supplies. Below are some examples of what our clients currently need!

Food donations:

  • shelf-stable milk or milk alternatives
  • canned goods (soup, vegetables, fruits, tuna)
  • pasta, rice, and grains
  • canned or dried beans
  • holiday-themed cookies and treats
  • cake or brownie mixes
  • hot cocoa or hot chocolate packets
  • coffee or tea bags
  • canned cranberry sauce
  • stuffing mix
  • instant mashed potatoes

Clothing donations:

  • winter coats
  • hats, mittens, and scarves
  • sweaters
  • sweatpants
  • warm socks

Supply donations:

  • cleaning supplies like sanitizing wipes, spray cleaners, etc.
  • laundry supplies like dryer sheets or laundry detergent
  • holiday supplies like wrapping paper, tape, and gift bags
  • household supplies like dish detergent, hand soap, paper towels, toilet paper etc.
  • baby supplies like diapers or baby wipes

You can also ask for gift cards! An easy way to help those in need, gift cards to places like Target, Walmart, Uber, or gas stations are incredibly appreciated, especially during the holiday season.

Below are some other ideas on how to keep your drive in line with the holiday spirit:

  • Use decorated boxes or containers at the drop-off site! Or give each box a theme, like Santa’s Pantry” for food items, “Warm Hearts” for clothing, and “Gifts of Necessity” for supplies.
  • Host a fun event alongside the drive such as a hot cocoa and cookie social!
  • Transform the donation site into a winter wonderland by decorating it with holiday lights, ornaments, and festive decorations!

At BCHG, we are so grateful for community support, especially during these cold months. Your donations directly impact the lives of community members in need. To schedule a donation drop-off, reach out to amcgill@bchg.org. If you have any questions or need more inspiration, head to our Hold a Drive page!


PS, be sure to tag us in any content you share on social media! Let’s make this holiday season brighter for everyone.

Written By: Hannah Borish

A Guide to Making a Difference

Introduction:


Giving Tuesday is a global day of charitable giving that encourages people to give back to their communities and support causes they are passionate about. Bucks County Housing Group (BCHG) is continuing our work to close the door on hunger and homelessness, and we hope you’ll consider supporting us this Giving Tuesday. We are dedicated to addressing the challenges of food and housing insecurity, and providing affordable housing solutions, and rely on community support to carry out our mission. This Giving Tuesday, consider one of these ways to contribute to help give back to our community and support BCHG:

  1. Monetary Donations:
    One of the most direct ways to support BCHG is through monetary donations. Your financial contributions can go a long way in helping us provide shelter, food, and essential services to individuals and families facing homelessness. Visit our Giving Tuesday page to make a secure online donation, donate via Paypal, or fill out this form to set up a recurring donation to provide ongoing support. You can also support us by buying our merchandise!
  2. Fundraising Campaigns:
    Consider organizing a fundraising campaign within your community or workplace to raise awareness and funds for BCHG. You could host a neighborhood event, set up crowdfunding pages, or collaborate with local businesses to create donation drives. Get creative and involve others in the process to maximize the impact of your fundraising efforts. Need our support? Email info@bchg.org!
  3. Volunteer Your Time:
    If you have the time and skills to spare, consider volunteering with BCHG. We often need volunteers for various tasks, such as assisting with food distribution, helping in our community gardens, or providing support at our office. Volunteering is a hands-on way to make a direct impact and connect with the community you’re helping. To get started, visit our volunteer page.
  4. In-Kind Donations:
    We welcome in-kind donations of essential items. This could include non-perishable food items, clothing, hygiene products, and household supplies. You can view our current list of needed food items here, and check out our Amazon Wishlist for the most up-to-date needs of our housing program units and families.
  5. Spread the Word:
    Help amplify our mission by spreading the word on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and X. Share our posts, upcoming events, and initiatives on your page or story. Encourage your friends, family, and followers to get involved and support us on Giving Tuesday! Use the hashtags #GivingTuesday, #GT2023, and #GivingTuesday2023 to increase the visibility of your posts and inspire others to join the cause.
  6. Corporate Sponsorship:
    If you represent a business, explore the possibility of corporate sponsorship for BCHG. This can involve financial support, in-kind donations, or even collaboration on community initiatives. Corporate partnerships can significantly boost our resources and enable us to expand our impact. If you’re interested in becoming a corporate partner, email amcgill@bchg.org for more information.

Conclusion:


This Giving Tuesday, make a meaningful contribution to Bucks County Housing Group and play a role in addressing homelessness and housing challenges in your community. Whether through financial support, volunteerism, or spreading awareness, your efforts can make a lasting impact on the lives of those in need. Join the movement and be a part of positive change in Bucks County.

A November Collaboration with Free Spirit Bar

Looking to grab a drink somewhere local and fundraise at the same time? Look no further! This November, enjoy the “Hygge Hug” at Free Spirit to help support our mission here at BCHG.

A Fundraiser Drink to Warm Hearts

As November unfolds, ushering in colder nights and shorter days, we’ve discovered a unique haven in Buckingham: Free Spirit Zero Proof Bar, the sole alcohol-free bar and bottle shop in Bucks County. Beyond its charming exterior lies a space dedicated to warmth, community, and a meaningful cause.

Throughout November, savor the delightful “Hygge Hug” featured on the menu at Free Spirit. With a comforting blend of wholesome ingredients, the Hygge Hug combines brown butter rum alternative, vanilla, and hot spiced apple cider to warm your body and soul. Not only that, but you can sip blissfully knowing that your drink directly contributes to supporting BCHG programs. Every sip adds warmth to both your experience and our community.

Free Spirit: A Unique Local Experience

Free Spirit offers a diverse array of alcohol-free drinks, including hemp-infused options, and exquisite handcrafted home goods. What truly sets this local gem apart is its unwavering commitment to community betterment. Each month, Free Spirit crafts a special drink to benefit a different local organization. We’re excited to announce that BCHG has been chosen as the November beneficiary!

Transform Free Spirit Zero Proof Bar into your cozy retreat this November. Immerse yourself in the welcoming ambiance that wraps you in a sense of community and relaxation. Make the Hygge Hug an essential part of your visit, knowing that each indulgence contributes to a local cause.

Located at 4920 York Rd. Store 13, Buckingham, PA 18912, Free Spirit is not just a venue; it’s a hub for wellness, warmth, and giving. Join us in celebrating the incredible spirit of collaboration and community this November. Experience the unique blend of flavors and community support at Free Spirit Zero Proof Bar, your ultimate destination for warmth and fundraising in Bucks County.

Don’t miss out on contributing to local causes—visit Free Spirit today and make a difference one sip at a time!

Get Directions Here

Check out Free Spirit on Instagram!

BCHG Homepage

Written: Hannah Borish

Did you know October is National Book Month? As if we needed another reason to spend these autumn days cozied up in front of a fireplace with a cup of coffee and a good book!

If you’re searching for a new read, check out our team’s latest recommendations for some moving and motivating stories about home, hunger, and hope.

BCHG Recommends:

  • No Way Home: The Crisis of Homelessness and How to Fix It with Intelligence and Humanity by Christopher F. Rufo, Wayne H. Winegarden, Joseph Tartakovsky, and Kerry Jackson – “This book examines the causes of homelessness with a focus on unaffordable housing, poverty, mental illness, substance addiction, and legal reform.”
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a collection of stories which examine the way humans interact with the natural world.
  • The Poverty Paradox by Mark Robert Rank delves into why the wealthiest country in the world (the United States) also has the highest rate of poverty among industrialized countries and offers solutions on what we can do about it.
  • Changing the Face of Hunger by Tony Hall – “Hall’s book describes his humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia, where he saw world hunger up close, and his attempts to bring the problem to the attention of those in Washington, advocating for those who have no voice in global politics.”
  • Cooking with Scraps by Lindsay-Jean Hard provides easy-to-follow recipes using scraps most of us have in our kitchens, offering insight into ways to cook more with less.

We encourage you to explore the offerings at your local Bucks County Free Library – their website provides up-to-date information on their current stock and availability, allowing you to easily embark on a reading adventure this National Book Month.

So, as the autumn leaves fall and the air turns crisper, let these books be your companions, guiding you through stories that inspire, provoke thought, and perhaps even change the way you view the world.

Spread the word(s):

Read one of these books, or find another book that inspires you to fight against hunger and homelessness? Share a photo on Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured on our page! Don’t forget to follow us @BucksCountyHousingGroup.

Happy reading!

BCHG Homepage

Written By: Hannah Borish

  • Two children dyeing Easter eggs
  • Fresh produce on a table display
  • Gardening

How Your Support Transforms Lives at Bucks County Housing Group

At Bucks County Housing Group, we’re excited to share with you the incredible impact of your generous donations. Your support has been pivotal in changing lives, and we want to give you a glimpse of how we put your donations to work and how they are making a tangible difference in our community. 

1. Filling Plates and Hearts: The Food Program 

Your support has ensured that no one in our community goes to bed hungry. With your help, we’ve been able to purchase nutritious food to sustain our food program, providing a lifeline for individuals and families facing food insecurity. Your generosity goes beyond filling plates; it fills hearts with hope. We’re able to leverage your donations to fill our pantries with healthy produce, pantry staples, and allergen-friendly options.

2. Turning Houses into Homes: Essential Household Supplies 

Imagine starting anew with nothing but the clothes on your back. Your donations have made it possible for us to provide clients in our housing program with essential household supplies to get them started as they stabilize. From toiletries to bedding and kitchenware, your contributions empower individuals and families to transform their living situations, turning houses into comfortable homes. Additionally, our Apartment Partners program provides essential furniture and unforeseen expense help to our client families.

3. Play and Laughter for Children: A New Playset and More

Our youngest clients have reason to smile, thanks to your donations at work. We installed a new playset for children within our housing program thanks to a generous fundraiser from our community, bringing joy and laughter to their lives. This small act has had a significant impact, offering a sense of normalcy during challenging times. In addition, your support has provided supplies for our community building program to host holiday parties, homework help, and community days to aid in bringing a sense of camaraderie and support among our housing clients.

4. Cultivating Hope through Community Gardens 

Gardens are places of growth, not just for plants but for people too. Your support has allowed us to provide seeds and materials for our community gardens, enabling clients to cultivate fresh produce and gain valuable skills. Because of your help, our gardens nourish both bodies and spirits while fostering a sense of community and empowerment. 

5. Beyond the Examples: A Broader Impact 

Your support extends far beyond the specific examples mentioned. Because of your support, we have been able to provide shelter, offer case management services, and host educational workshops. These services are instrumental in helping our clients find stable housing, overcome challenges, and work toward self-sufficiency. 

The Ripple Effect: How Your Donations Transform Lives 

The impact of your generosity goes beyond immediate assistance; we put your donations to work to make lasting changes in Bucks County and our clients’ lives. Clients who receive support during difficult times are better equipped to tackle challenges and work towards self-sufficiency. Your contributions fill them with hope and empowerment, impacting every aspect of their lives and creating a brighter future for them and their families. 

In closing, we want to express our deepest gratitude for your unwavering commitment to our mission. Your support, whether through financial contributions, volunteering, or advocacy, is truly making a difference. Together, we’re creating a stronger, more vibrant community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. 

As we continue this journey of transformation, we look forward to the positive changes your kindness and compassion will bring. Thank you for being a vital part of this life-changing work. 

At Bucks County Housing Group, we understand that navigating the complexities of disability benefit income programs can be daunting, especially for those facing homelessness and serious health challenges, and we’re dedicated to breaking down these barriers and helping those in need access the assistance they deserve. One way we do this is through SOAR.

What is SOAR?

SOAR, which stands for SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery, is a program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SOAR is a lifeline for eligible adults and children who are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness and who also grapple with serious mental illness, medical impairments, and/or co-occurring substance use disorders. Our dedicated SOAR Benefits Specialist, funded by the Bucks County Housing and Community Development Department, is here to guide qualified individuals through the application process for disability benefit income programs.

Simplifying the Application Process

Applying for disability benefit income programs can be an arduous process. SOAR aims to simplify and streamline this process significantly. Applications submitted through SOAR not only receive expedited processing but are also crafted to present a more comprehensive view of the applicant, increasing the chance of approval. Our specialist becomes the applicant’s point of contact throughout the process, providing guidance every step of the way.

Who is Eligible for SOAR Benefits?

To be eligible, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Experiencing homelessness, as defined by HUD, which includes:
    • Being literally homeless
    • Exiting an institution after less than 90 days
    • Being at risk of homelessness within 14 days
  • Diagnosed with a serious mental or physical illness, characterized by:
    • 12 months of symptoms
    • Continued symptoms despite treatments
  • Unable to work at a substantial level due to illness

How to Get Started

If you are a professional and believe a client of yours qualifies for SOAR benefits, you can take these steps to help them access the program:

  • Review the Identifying SOAR Applicants sheet
  • Contact Social Security to check if the client already has an application in process or appeal
  • Complete the Bucks County CoC Referral Application
  • Submit completed referrals to SOAR@bchg.org

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about SOAR benefits, the referral process, or need a copy of the Referral Application, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our specialist at SOAR@bchg.org. We’re here to help you help our community members regain stability in their lives.

BCHG Homepage

Written by: Laura Ferreri