A Stable Source of Support – Stroll Schuylkill

What is the mission of Open Hearth? Open Hearth, Inc. is a leader in resource coordination and community-building efforts, providing innovative programs to support and empower people to end the cycle of homelessness, acquire affordable housing, a means of transportation, workforce opportunities, and achieve financial stability.

Debbie Dundon

Why was the organization started? Open Hearth was originally formed in 1989 as a local grassroots committee to assure equal housing opportunities for people who are traditionally isolated and systematically denied opportunities due to mental, emotional, or physical disabilities. Headquartered in Phoenixville, Open Hearth, Inc. received its  501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in April of 1991. Over the years our organization has grown and evolved to serve members of single parents, displaced families, those dealing with drug and alcohol dependency, and all income-eligible populations who come from diverse racial, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.

We believe our greatest strengths are staying abreast of emerging issues and best practices and then developing programs and effective partnerships to meet the needs of the community we serve. Because of this, as community needs have changed we have expanded our services to include asset building, financial education and coaching, transportation solutions, and case management, believing that the answer lies in prevention and education.

Our work at Open Hearth spans a continuum—from providing temporary housing for someone experiencing homelessness to providing a savings match for someone planning to purchase their first home. Our participants can rely on our staff to support them as they work to attain financial and housing stability.

What is your role with Open Hearth? As the office manager, I am primarily responsible for all of Open Hearth’s operational support including facility management, accounts payable/receivable, and serving as the point of contact for our IT consultant. I started with Open Hearth in March of 2006 and was a program coordinator for a year. I then shifted to the office administrator role and also served as the coordinator of the monthly Phoenixville Area Resource Network meetings for ten years.

Any other information you would like to include? I’ve been excited to watch the growth of Open Hearth over
the last eighteen years including our move from our rented office space in Spring City, to our property in Phoenixville, to the growth of our programs and staff. Debbie has lived in Schuylkill Township at SpringMeadows at Valley Forge for 14 years. Her parents both had roots in Phoenixville and she grew up in the borough. She currently lives with her fur babies: dog Kona (4), and cats Frankie& Freddy (4). Her adult daughters, MaryBeth and Amy, both live locally.


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