Women & Business April 2016: Judy Eakin
Eakin is executive director of HEARTH, which provides supportive services and adequate housing for homeless families.
For nineteen years and counting, Judy Eakin has been working to ensure that families with children are not without homes.
Eakin, executive director of HEARTH, guides the organization’s mission of providing supportive services and adequate housing for homeless families, so that they can become independent, self-sufficient and housed.
“These women have a much harder life than you or I,” says Eakin, who earned her bachelor’s degree in social work and her post master’s degree in marital and family therapy from the University of Pittsburgh. “When the person you trust the most betrays you, [these women] still have the ability to get up every single morning so that they can make the best life possible for their kids.”
Eakin is responsible for program development, financial oversight, grant writing, fundraising and volunteer development. In 2013, under her management, HEARTH completed a two-year capital campaign in order to renovate an abandoned building. The $7.4 million they raised gave HEARTH a new home that created 20 units of transitional housing as well as new and improved office space for staff.
Under Eakin’s leadership, HEARTH continues to extend its reach. In 2009, the organization nearly doubled the number of families served – from 15 to 32 through two permanent housing programs. In the future, Eakin wants to create more affordable housing in the suburbs.
In her spare time, she is the organizer for the Greater Pittsburgh Celiac & Gluten Free Living Meetup Group. The group has almost 400 members and schedules activities to help people happily live gluten free.
“I never thought I would be at HEARTH for 19 years,” says Eakin. “Usually you switch it up every seven years or so for a new challenge. But here, it’s still so fresh and challenging and new things are happening every single day. It’s a wonderful place.”