Sojourner House Executive Director to Retire

After nearly 12 years at the helm of Sojourner House, Executive Director Joann Cyganovich will retire on June 30.

Sojourner House has experienced a stellar past decade-plus of growth, and an increasingly well-regarded reputation. Much of that can be attributed to Joann.  Highlights of her tenure at Sojourner House include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • Spearheading the creation of MOMS Green. MOMS Green — located between Hays and Black streets in East Liberty — a play park and garden for the MOMS neighborhood created in 2010. The 18-month project transformed two blighted vacant lots into a safe, landscaped play space and garden area for Sojourner House MOMS families and the entire neighborhood to enjoy.
  • Overseeing Sojourner House’s 2012 acquisition and rehabilitation of Homewood-based Sankofa and Open Arms. The two buildings now are considered part of Sojourner House MOMS.
  • Serving as one of the founders and participants of an advocacy partnership called the Pennsylvania Government Alliance. Founded in 2018, the Alliance – which includes Sojourner House, Family Links and POWER – focuses on networking with elected officials at state, federal and local levels to help shape policy to ensure that women/women with children have access to addiction treatment while not losing their children.   

Joann has dedicated the majority of her career to helping thousands of people throughout the Pittsburgh region – namely, women and children – improve their lives.

Joann’s career in human services began as a mental health counselor at Wood Street Commons (WSC) part of Community Human Services (CHS), a non-profit put into place to reestablish the Pittsburgh community while assisting persons at risk. While at CHS, Joann was promoted to Director of Homeless Outreach.  In her role, Joann helped to create “Operation Save-A-Life,” a program owned and operated by people recovering from homelessness.

Joann’s career shifted toward the support of women in need when she was hired as Program Director at Bethlehem Haven, which provides services and opportunities for women experiencing homelessness. Gaining experience at Bethlehem Haven, Joann became Executive Director at Lydia’s Place, an organization that provided services to incarcerated women and their families, then Executive Director for Sisters Place, a Clairton-based supportive housing program for women and children experiencing homelessness. Finally, in 2007, Joann’s journey led her to Sojourner House

“I don’t feel like I chose this career path, but that it was chosen for me. The path opened and I went down that path,” said Joann. “I especially love Sojourner House because the mission serves the entire family, not to mention that some of the most kind and generous people I have ever met are those that surround Sojourner House – what a wonderful community.”

To wish Joann well, please feel free to contact her at jcyganovich@sjhpa.org.