By Tim Jimenez

BLUE BELL, Pa. (CBS) — A few hundred people gathered today at Montgomery County Community College to get an update on a program, now in its fifth month, that helps the homeless get back on their feet.

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Ivy Harper (top photo) had to move out of her home and away from a destructive relationship.

“Very abusive — financially, physically, emotionally,” she notes.  “And I had children.”

She had lost her job a year and a half ago, but there was no way she could stay with her husband.  What was next for her and her four kids, all between ten and 17 years old, was a shelter in Norristown.  They were homeless.    But that’s when “Your Way Home” came to her aid.

“Being homeless doesn’t mean you’re drunk, being homeless doesn’t mean you’re on drugs,” Harper told the audience of government and philanthropic officials today.

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A public-private effort to end homelessness in Montgomery County, “Your Way Home” allows people to reach out for help with housing, employment, and other issues.

County commissioner Josh Shapiro says before the program started in January, they were getting 15 only people off the streets each month.  “Under this new, collaborative approach, we’re getting 55 people each month out of homelessness.”

Officials say they’ve helped 274 people so far, including Ivy, who’s now in an apartment in Schwenksville.

“It really does seem like it’s doing such good work. And I know it did with me,” she said today.


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