34 min

From Homelessness to Home Ownership - Karen Marsdale's Mission at Hannah's Hope Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership with Tommy Thomas

    • Non-Profit

[00:00:00] Karen Marsdale: I might be a little bit averse to risks, but because I learned so early on by being really naive and thinking that my husband and I could run a business that really needed a lot more cash flow and ready cash that we just didn't have.
[00:00:13] Karen Marsdale: But because I failed and from that failure, we created success. And when I say success, we were able to get back on track and work hard and buy a house and send our kids to college. And, that early failure made me feel that if I could do that and come back from it, I'm not really afraid to fail.
[00:00:38] Tommy Thomas: This week, we're resuming the conversation we started last week with Karen Marsdale, the co-director of Hannah's Hope in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Hannah’s Hope is dedicated to helping women with children who are facing homelessness in Berks County. The primary focus is on women, who despite their current situation, sheltered potential and determination to rebuild their lives. Karen will also explain how she and her co-director have split senior leadership duties to play to their individual strengths. While this sometimes leads to complications, it's working wonderfully at Hannah's Hope. Let's pick up where we left off last week.
[00:01:25] Tommy Thomas: Give us a thumbnail sketch of Hannah's Hope and the trust that y'all have there in Berks County.
[00:01:31] Karen Marsdale: Okay, so I'm just going to give a little bit of an educational piece here for about two minutes in the world of homelessness. And we see it of course now. It's front and center everywhere we go in terms of, media or, in seeing people on the street. There's a continuum of homelessness.
[00:01:51] Karen Marsdale: And we teach people all the time that when you see one homeless person, there are people in the continuum that are chronically homeless. Those might be people who are addicted and they don't want to give up their addiction. They're going to be on the street. They're going to be in tent camps.
[00:02:06] Karen Marsdale: They're not going to be moved into the next .They're not somebody who has had one thing happen. And now they have become homeless. Then you have people who are homeless because of an incident or something that's happened in their life and they need a certain amount of care.
[00:02:23] Karen Marsdale: What we do at Hannah's is very focused on women with children who are in that place where they have abilities. And we have a very robust application process, three interviews. One of the interviews usually encompasses our trauma therapist, because she's getting from the where is this person in their mental health?
[00:02:48] Karen Marsdale: How do we check their mental health? We look at where they've been in terms of, have they ever had a job? So women that come to us and I say this, and it might sound a bit on feeling, but we're looking for women who you would say would be the advanced placement or the A+ women who find themselves in a homeless situation who really have the ability, the grit.
[00:03:12] Karen Marsdale: And again, when I say ability, it's not just the want to, but do they have the ability to learn skills that can help them to get a a job or go to classes that they can get training, some sort of basic training so that they can get a living wage job. So our goal is to take women for 12 to 18 months, teach them life skills.
[00:03:35] Karen Marsdale: Business skills, all the skills that they need. It can be things like even how to clean, how to cook. Essentially they might not have some of these skills, but they have some of them and they've not learned all of them. But we want to get them to a place ultimately where they can live independently for the rest of their lives with their children without necessarily having a mate. And one of the biggest problems that we see, particularly with women with children, and this is why there's domestic violence and abuse, is the fact that they've never had the backgroun

[00:00:00] Karen Marsdale: I might be a little bit averse to risks, but because I learned so early on by being really naive and thinking that my husband and I could run a business that really needed a lot more cash flow and ready cash that we just didn't have.
[00:00:13] Karen Marsdale: But because I failed and from that failure, we created success. And when I say success, we were able to get back on track and work hard and buy a house and send our kids to college. And, that early failure made me feel that if I could do that and come back from it, I'm not really afraid to fail.
[00:00:38] Tommy Thomas: This week, we're resuming the conversation we started last week with Karen Marsdale, the co-director of Hannah's Hope in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Hannah’s Hope is dedicated to helping women with children who are facing homelessness in Berks County. The primary focus is on women, who despite their current situation, sheltered potential and determination to rebuild their lives. Karen will also explain how she and her co-director have split senior leadership duties to play to their individual strengths. While this sometimes leads to complications, it's working wonderfully at Hannah's Hope. Let's pick up where we left off last week.
[00:01:25] Tommy Thomas: Give us a thumbnail sketch of Hannah's Hope and the trust that y'all have there in Berks County.
[00:01:31] Karen Marsdale: Okay, so I'm just going to give a little bit of an educational piece here for about two minutes in the world of homelessness. And we see it of course now. It's front and center everywhere we go in terms of, media or, in seeing people on the street. There's a continuum of homelessness.
[00:01:51] Karen Marsdale: And we teach people all the time that when you see one homeless person, there are people in the continuum that are chronically homeless. Those might be people who are addicted and they don't want to give up their addiction. They're going to be on the street. They're going to be in tent camps.
[00:02:06] Karen Marsdale: They're not going to be moved into the next .They're not somebody who has had one thing happen. And now they have become homeless. Then you have people who are homeless because of an incident or something that's happened in their life and they need a certain amount of care.
[00:02:23] Karen Marsdale: What we do at Hannah's is very focused on women with children who are in that place where they have abilities. And we have a very robust application process, three interviews. One of the interviews usually encompasses our trauma therapist, because she's getting from the where is this person in their mental health?
[00:02:48] Karen Marsdale: How do we check their mental health? We look at where they've been in terms of, have they ever had a job? So women that come to us and I say this, and it might sound a bit on feeling, but we're looking for women who you would say would be the advanced placement or the A+ women who find themselves in a homeless situation who really have the ability, the grit.
[00:03:12] Karen Marsdale: And again, when I say ability, it's not just the want to, but do they have the ability to learn skills that can help them to get a a job or go to classes that they can get training, some sort of basic training so that they can get a living wage job. So our goal is to take women for 12 to 18 months, teach them life skills.
[00:03:35] Karen Marsdale: Business skills, all the skills that they need. It can be things like even how to clean, how to cook. Essentially they might not have some of these skills, but they have some of them and they've not learned all of them. But we want to get them to a place ultimately where they can live independently for the rest of their lives with their children without necessarily having a mate. And one of the biggest problems that we see, particularly with women with children, and this is why there's domestic violence and abuse, is the fact that they've never had the backgroun

34 min