HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – From the outside, it may look like just another house on Alison Hill. But inside, it’s so much more.
“The tenants I was getting were all either veterans or ex-offenders, so it was like a no-brainer to start a program because they were in need.”
Shelby Kearney owns Pop’s House. It’s a place to help vets and ex-offenders get their lives started again. The rent is low and everything else is taken care of, including food, beds, and TV.
“I think it’s a shame that a soldier goes off to defend our nation, defend the ground that we stand on, and has to come back and sleep on it,” Kearney said. “I just think that’s terrible.”
Between the two houses, there are 10 bedrooms, but many are empty. Kearney hopes to change that.
“People show up at the door with nothing, sometimes just the clothes on their back, so we welcome them and it’s just such a gratifying feeling because I was almost homeless at one point, If it wasn’t for my family welcoming me in, helping me out, I could have been that person showing up on someone’s doorstep with nothing.”
Kearney started Pop’s House two years ago. She says she saw a real need for it. Along with housing, the non-profit also offers services like financial literacy, computer literacy, and employment assistance.
“You don’t have to worry about certain things that you had to worry about before. A lot of those are eliminated,” Pierre Alston said.
Alston served time in the Army and behind bars. When he got out, he didn’t have much money or a place to live. Pop’s House changed that. He’s now the property manager.
“This environment produces the camaraderie that we experienced when we were in the military,” Alston said.
He says Kearney and Pop’s House saved his life.
“I might be back in prison, truthfully speaking,” Alston said. “Most individuals that do crime or are sitting in prison, it’s because of money and they’ll do what they have to do to get it. She eliminated that from my life and I’m grateful.”
With the motto “Help, Hope, Home,” Kearney hopes to open even more Pop’s Houses across the city. For more information go to www.popshouse.org.