Pittsburgh’s Light of Light Rescue Mission moving to new North Side facility
Sixteen years ago, Jody Johnson walked into the Light of Life Rescue Mission in Pittsburgh’s North Side, homeless and addicted to drugs, and found a reason to turn her life around.
Today, she’s a member of the mission’s board of directors, works for the U.S. Treasury Department and is the mother of two daughters.
“When I walked in there, that staff loved me and I was not very lovable back then,” Johnson said of coming to Light of Life in January 2004. “They taught me how to love who I was. Most importantly, they encouraged and fostered my relationship with God, which has carried me through the last 16 years.”
Johnson and dozens of other Light of Life officials and supporters gathered Monday for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the mission’s planned $6 million North Side facility designed to offer food, shelter and programming to the homeless and addicted. The building is located on Voeghtly Street, near the former Heinz plant along the Allegheny River.
Now operating out of three North Side locations, Light of Life plans to move out of them and into the Voeghtly Street facility and a building it owns and plans to renovate on Ridge Place near Allegheny Commons Park. It has so far raised about $6 million, enough to cover the cost of building the new facility, which should be finished in 14 months, and will continue to raise funds for the other project, estimated at $9 million.
Officials also hope to raise $5 million for treatment programs.
“People make mistakes, and then they need a little bit of help and what Light of Life has done for years, and years and years is to help improve peoples’ lives, save families and save a community,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The fact that today coming out of the ground is going to be the next generation of that is really, really important.”
The event featured former Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley, who have supported the mission for years and serve as celebrity spokesmen.
“The people that work at Light of Life are my heroes,” Ilkin said. “When you walk through the doors at Light of Life you will never be the same.”
Light of Life is a Christian nonprofit that has been tending to homeless in Pittsburgh since 1952.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .