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$2 million for New Bethany Ministries is on the way, Sen. Casey announces

Julian Abraham
Sen. Bob Casey spoke at Friday's media conference at Bethlehem Town Hall.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - When U.S. Rep. Susan Wild delivered a huge prop check for $2 million to New Bethany Ministries in September, it was lucky no one tried to cash it.

It seems the funds promised then by Wild's office ended up being delayed by budget complications.

On Friday, it was U.S. Sen. Bob Casey who was at New Bethany Ministries, announcing $2 million for New Bethany Ministries from the American Rescue Plan.

  • Sen. Bob Casey announced a $2M grant for New Bethany Ministries, a homeless shelter in Bethlehem
  • The same grant had previously been announced by Rep. Susan Wild's office in September, but budget complications delayed its delivery
  • The shelter said the money will be used for specialized housing, expanding their existing shelter in Bethlehem

Wild was unable to attend Friday's announcement.

New Bethany Executive Director Marc Rittle expressed gratitude for the funding and explained in a phone call that the money was a bit delayed because of government procedures and timelines.

"So what happened was the project itself is like a year-long process," Rittle said. "From applying to the funds to vetting the funds, to announcing the funds, and Susan Wild's office was so sure that it would be passed in the 2023 budget, that she presented a check to us [in September].

But it wasn't signed into law until Dec. 24.

"It is not another $2 million," Rittle explained.

"For the life of me, I can't understand why there's been so much criticism and hot air spewed by Washington politicians."
Sen. Bob Casey

Rittle said the funds still will go toward the same specialized housing project for New Bethany Ministries, which will expand its location into longer-term housing for members of marginalized groups, such as single mothers with children and members of the LGBT community.

At a Friday news conference at Bethlehem Town Hall, Casey spoke passionately, dismissing critics of the American Rescue Plan.

Julian Abraham
New Bethany Ministries Executive Director Marc Rittle expresses his gratitude to Sen. Bob Casey after Friday's funding announcement.

"For the life of me, I can't understand why there's been so much criticism and hot air spewed by Washington politicians," Casey said. "I won't say exactly who they are, but I think you get a sense of who they are."

Casey took the podium Friday just one day after announcing he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Wrapping up Friday's conference, Bethlehem Mayor William J. Reynolds shared an analogy from his time as a school teacher in the Lehigh Valley.

"I remember there was a student that came in, and he didn't have a pencil," Reynolds said. "And I went over to him and he said I didn't bring one, but if you give me a pencil, I'll do the work."

"So I gave him the pencil and he did the work, and I kept giving him a pencil, and he kept doing the work. Essentially what you, congressman Wild have done, is given our community that pencil, and now it's on us to do the work."

Rittle said he estimates the funds will be available for his organization's use in eight to nine months.