Proud Haven

Debbie is a co-founder and board member of Proud Haven. She holds an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Robert Morris University and a B.S. in Accounting from Manhattan College. Debbie has over 30 years of experience in accounting, with the past 20 years spent working with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations in her adopted hometown of Pittsburgh. She is the director of finance at MANY and also serves on the finance committee for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. She has also served on the boards of GLSEN, Traveler’s Aid of Pittsburgh, and the ToonSeum. Debbie is particularly interested in working with and supporting organizations that serve marginalized and at-risk populations.

Deeply troubling national statistics have found that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+. Available data suggests that conditions are similar in the Pittsburgh region.


Many traditional service providers cannot or will not provide physical and emotional safety, support and resources for their sexual and gender identities, and the encouragement they need to reach their full potential as independent, confident adults.

Identity-based family rejection is the most common reason these youth become homeless. Even if their family is supportive, youth may face harassment and violence at school or in their neighborhood that's so severe that they would rather leave home than spend another day in fear. Once they leave home, youth are subject to all the indignities of being unstably housed, including devastating health and psychological consequences, hunger, and the disruption of their education.

Proud Haven's mission is to provide a safe shelter for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in Pittsburgh. We will also provide emotional support and resources to help LGBTQ+ youth develop the skills needed to live independently. 

Stephanie currently works with families in the Westmoreland County area with mental health issues on their journey to self-sufficiency. She participates in monthly LGBTQ community meetings in Greensburg in partnership with Persad Center. Stephanie intends to pursue a Master's degree in School Counseling and Human Sexuality.

CIORA THOMAS
ciora.thomas@proudhaven.org

Our Vision

Our Leadership

As a response to a national and local crisis Proud Haven Inc. was first conceived in 2012, incorporated in Pennsylvania in April 2013 and received IRS approval as a 501(c)(3) in September 2014. A full board began work in November 2015.

Proud Haven will be the first overnight shelter of its kind in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. We are in the process of raising funds and locating resources to open and sustain our shelter in Pittsburgh. 

TREASURER
DEBBIE SCOTTO

Finance Committee Chair deborah.scotto@proudhaven.org

Lindsay has spent her entire career working in nonprofits that serve low-income people, including Rebuilding Together and Action-Housing.  She has a Master’s degree in nonprofit management.  Lindsay was the vice president of the board of directors for La Escuelita Arcoiris, a Spanish-immersion preschool, for 5 years. She is looking forward to bringing her knowledge to help LGTBQ+ youth find a safe haven where they feel like they belong.

Julia is an assistant public defender of Allegheny County. She previously worked at Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) practicing landlord/tenant, bankruptcy, and unemployment compensation law. Julia graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2013. Prior to that, she served with AmeriCorps for a year tutoring and mentoring students at Pittsburgh Milliones University Prep Middle and High School. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009.

Ciora is the founder of sisTers United, a community organization for transgender women of color suffering from homelessness, poverty, and discrimination. Her work includes service at a local nonprofit that serves people experiencing homelessness.

JULIE STRICKLAND-GILLARD
​julie.gilliard@proudhaven.org

Alyia has a decade of nonprofit experience, including seven years with organizations that serve at-risk youth and families, and an associate degree in Social Science.  currently works in advancement at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. She specializes in effective administration, communications, and marketing, and is a passionate advocate for program evaluation and accountability. Her previous community-focused efforts include volunteer work with the Knit the Bridge project, City High Charter School, and Sunday Assembly Pittsburgh. She is honored to be able to work towards eliminating LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in her beloved hometown.

JULIA ZEBLEY
julia.zebley@proudhaven.org
DAVID BRZOZOWSKI
​Fundraising Committee Chair​
david.brzozowski@proudhaven.org
BOARD SECRETARY
ALYIA PAULDING
Communications Committee Chair alyia.paulding@proudhaven.org

Kyle is an associate attorney at Levicoff Law Firm.  He is also the co-owner of the Vagabond Gallery. Kyle has worked for the University of Pittsburgh Immigration Law Clinic and the Center for Constitutional Rights in New Orleans. He has served as a volunteer tutor at the East End Cooperative Ministries and Chair of the 2010 Power of One Student Leadership Conference.  Kyle was a Big Brother with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters from 2009-2012. He was the Assistant Director of Student Activities at Reed College from 2007-2012 and the Coordinator of GLBT Services at the University of Maine from 2005-2007.  Kyle is also a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association LGBT Rights Committee.

STEPHANIE BERLIN
stephanie.berlin@proudhaven.org
LYNDSEY SICKLER
Housing Requests Contact lyndsey.sickler@proudhaven.org

Alana Fields is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Sociology. She received both her Bachelors (African American Studies) and Masters (American Culture Studies) degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include the construction and socialization of Black Masculinity, Black feminism, gendered violence of Black trans and non-trans women – its intervention and survivor networks.
Alana has become and worked tirelessly as an advocate and mentor for young women who are survivors of sexual trauma, has worked closely with adolescent male perpetrators, and become increasingly more involved in activism engaging in anti-violence campaigns for black folks. Alana is a queer black woman and survivor who believes in the liberatory power of living openly, honestly, and authentically. She also believes in the power of shared knowledge, and seeks out collaborations that work to inform and empower herself and others.

BOARD CHAIR
KYLE C. WEBSTER

​Legal Affairs Committee Chair
​Kyle.c.webster@proudhaven.org
Our Mission

What is Proud Haven?

Lyndsey is currently youth programs manager at the Persad Center. In addition, they are a prior board chair of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC), an executive steering committee member of TransPride Pittsburgh, and an executive steering committee member of the Hot Metal Hardware Gender Performance Troupe. Prior to working at Persad, Lyndsey was the project coordinator of the Youth Empowerment Project at the University of Pittsburgh.

Julie is a community-focused change agent with over 10 years of cross-functional experience in the social impact sector. She currently works for the Allegheny Link as a Service Coordinator, under the Office of Community Relations at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, where she provides counseling, resources, and referrals to individuals in need. She is Board Secretary and External Affairs Committee Chair for the Adonai Center for Black Males, serves on the Board of Directors of Pittsburgh Cares, and is Board Secretary of the Free Store Wilkinsburg.

David has been very active with The Oasis Center in Nashville, TN as a partner from the corporate side of the world. He has been a key partner in strategizing for fundraising and making the greater community aware of the programs the center provides.  David was recently named Nashville's LGBT Business Leader of the Year. He also started the EQUAL LGBT & Ally Employee Resources Group at Dollar General's national headquarters in Nashville.

Our Progress

Our Story

ALANA D. FIELDS
alana.fields@proudhaven.org

We will be a leading resource for shelter and support services that improve the quality of life for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) youth as well as an advocate for the 
LGBTQ+ population as a whole.

Angela is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with her BS in psychology, and Master's in Social Work. She currently works in housing assistance programs with Community Human Services Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA as an intake coordinator, completing assessments to place consumers in programs. Along with her mother, Debbie, she is the co-founder of Proud Haven. As a young member of the LGBTQ community, she has already seen too much pain and suffering, and knew that a shelter for the community's adolescents is more than needed, it's necessary. Angela is proud to be a part of this fight, for equity and care for some of our society's most forgotten souls, and to be part of this work to end homelessness for LGBTQ+ adolescents in Pittsburgh. Angela is also the chair of Proud Haven’s Program Development Committee.

LGBTQ+ youth need and deserve their own shelter

ANGELA SCOTTO
​Program Development Committee Chair​
angela.scotto@proudhaven.org
BOARD CO-CHAIR
LINDSAY CASHMAN

Real Estate Committee Chair​lindsay.cashman@proudhaven.org

A Place To Be Home