Newsletter

Every other week, I’ll tell you about the phenomenal work the City’s Office of Homeless Services and our partners are doing to move people from homeless to home.

December 1, 2017


Special Edition – Voices of Homeless Youth Count Report


Being a teenager should be a time of self-exploration, fun, sports, arts, music and social life. It shouldn’t be a life or death struggle to find a safe place to sleep, enough food to eat
or a bathroom to sneak into to bathe. It shouldn’t be trading sex for a couch to sleep on.

But in fact, this is the reality for one in ten young people in America based on the results of the Voices of Youth Count study released by Chapin Hall of the University of Chicago
on November 15, 2017.

150 people attended the Forum on Youth homelessness at City Hall on 11/28 to highlight key findings and hear about potential solutions to youth homelessness in Philly.

Philadelphia was 1 of 22 cities involved to learn more about what young people endure. Findings include:

  • Youth homelessness is not a single event, but a series of episodes that start young and is often hidden;
  • Of the 569 unaccompanied youth ages 13 to 25 counted in Philadelphia, 28% had been in foster care, ½ had been in both foster care and the justice system;
  • African-American and LBGTQ youth are over represented among homeless youth, as are young parents.

It’s time to turn the tide.

Infographics from local Philadelphia report and Call to Action, click HERE
Local results, click HERE
Check out a news story about the Forum, click HERE
The City is already taking action, click HERE
Formerly homeless youth turned activist and first-ever system navigator, Joseph Hill-Coles tell his story HERE

Ready Resources
Where to Turn | Meal Schedule | Substance Abuse Treatment

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102


November 14, 2017

Big Thanks to Hub of Hope Supporters
The Hub of Hope 1st Annual Benefit was a huge success, raising over $850,000 to provide social services to people living on the street. Over 300 supporters attended the event, joining Project HOME, the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA in launching this initiative. Thanks to our supporters for their time, energy and generosity. The Hub is scheduled to open in January! Check out the media coverage of the event here and share your support on social media!

Congressman Dwight Evans Praises Hub of Hope
Earlier this week, Congressman Dwight Evans spoke to the US House of Representatives about the Hub of Hope. “Poverty is a real problem facing our city. I am proud to see SEPTA, Project HOME and the City come together in a thoughtful and productive way, in their effort to continue to move our city forward.” He added, “Hub of Hope is making ideas matter by bringing a public-private partnership to life to deliver positive, lasting outcomes.” Watch the full video of Congressman Evan’s remarks here.

100 Day Challenge Still Going, 400 days and 415 people later
415 chronically street homeless people have gotten permanent housing since we started in June 2016 thanks to the providers and outreach who make up the team.

First Code Blue of the Season Helps 70 people come in from the cold 
Homeless Services declared the first Code Blue emergency of the cold weather season effective 11/10 at 7 pm through 11/12 at 7 am. This is when homeless outreach teams patrol the streets encouraging homeless people to come indoors and avoid prolonged exposure to dangerous weather conditions. 80 extra shelter beds will be provided throughout the Code Blue period. If you see someone who is homeless and sleeping on the street, please call Homeless Outreach 215-232-1984. Outreach Teams are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Change to Better Serve People in Crisis
Homeless Services is excited to participate in the PHL Participatory Design Lab through a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Cities Challenge Grant. This new initiative is an opportunity for us to improve services for the folks who need them. Liz Hersh, Homeless Services Director, says “Our goal with this project is to transform our system into a Homeless Crisis Response Center where there are options and solutions that go beyond entering shelter.” Over the next 13 months the intake system will be redesigned to be more dignified, person-centered and trauma-informed. You can read more here.

Events
Bethesda Project – Casserole Cookoff – 11/16
Prevention Point Philadelphia – Celebrating 25 Years – 11/16
Giving Tuesday – 11/28
Dignity Housing – Dine Out with Dignity – 11/28
Voices of Youth Count – Panel Discussion – 11/28
Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity – Uniting to Fight Poverty Summit – 11/30
DBHIDS – Narcan Overdose Training 12/13

Ready Resources
Where to Turn   |   Meal Schedule  

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102


October 17, 2017

The City of Philadelphia has hit another milestone in its quest to find homes for people living on the street.”
Last year the City’s amazing network of homeless service providers helped over 300 chronically homeless people get Permanent Supportive Housing. WHYY tells the story HERE

Philly grew its stock of Permanent Supportive Housing by 98% over 10 years.
It’s cost-effective and nationally recognized. Click HERE to learn more.

Mayor Announces New Eviction Task Force
Mayor Kenney recently announced the creation of an Eviction Task Force which will study and create a plan to combat an “underreported crisis” in Philly. Liz Hersh, Director of Homeless Services, and Mitch Little, Director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, will chair the Task Force. Read the details HERE.

Tackling Youth Homelessness
Dr. Ken Ginsburg, a pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine at CHOP, Medical Director for Covenant Housing and Professor of Pediatrics at University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine trained 50 homeless service providers on “Reaching Teens” to build resiliency. 

SEPTA Takes the Lead on Addressing Homelessness in the Concourse
Click HERE to read about new Hub of Hope to open January 2018. Click HERE to read about the retail plans for the Concourse.

Upcoming Events
Valley Youth House – Open House – 10/18
Families Forward – Jannie Blackwell Gala – 10/18
Bethesda Project – Carving Change – 10/19
SHARE Food Program – Party in the Warehouse – 10/26
Hub of Hope – First Annual Benefit – 11/6
Prevention Point – 25th Anniversary Celebration – 11/16

Ready Resources
Where to Turn   |   Meal Schedule  

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102


September 19, 2017

Taking Action in Kensington/Fairhill
55,000 Philadelphians are known to have used heroin last year. 15,000 sought publicly funded treatment and there were 900 fatal overdoses. Unfortunately, the Kensington/Fairhill section is ground-zero. The City is TAKING ACTION! Read the highlights about our work.

Books for Homeless Kids
Did you know that 14,000 books are enough to fill a bookshelf two football fields long? That’s how many books were collected during the recent Books Across Philly book drive as part of a literacy campaign organized by California’s Molina Foundation.

Teresa Cherry, Bright Spaces Coordinator, helped gather new books valued over $100,000 distributed to 27 agencies including shelters, early childhood programs, and rec centers. Check out the story from Fox 29!

Valley Youth House 2017 Backpack Challenge
Back to school can be a stressful time for youth in foster care who don’t have a support system to help them get school supplies. The Valley Youth House Backpack Challenge eases that stress by raising money and collecting essential back-to-school items for youth age 14-21 who are off to college or high school in the fall. Homeless Services participated in this year’s challenge, filling a 4 ½ feet tall box with backpacks and all kinds of cool supplies. Thanks to everyone who donated to support our most vulnerable youth and prepare them for success in school!

We Never Stop- Sustaining a Virtual End to Veteran’s Homelessness
The 2017 Delaware Valley Veterans Stand Down, held in September at the VA Medical Center reached 200 veterans. The Office of Homeless Services engaged 52 of those in attendance, connecting them with housing and other services. Great work!

Philly’s Work Attracts National Recognition
San Diego turns to Philly for advice on homelessness. Jane Ottensmeyer, Strategist, GOOD Corps, was engaged by Funders Together to convene an expert roundtable in Philadelphia to help inform their local strategy. “We are inspired by the progress you’ve made in the effort to end homelessness.”

Ready Resources
Where to Turn   |   Meal Schedule  

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102


October 31, 2017

Winter Initiative
The City will add 423 beds for individuals experiencing street homelessness this winter as part of our annual Winter Initiative. Of these, 75 will be available only when we reach Code Blue, that is, temperatures below freezing. Beds will start to come online November 1st.

Philly’s Rapid Re-Housing Highlighted By the Commonwealth
A year ago DHS and Homeless Services piloted a two-year program in West Philly to rapidly re-house families and connect them to services and jobs. Here’s the good news – all families that participated and exited the program in Year One have remained in stable housing. Thirty-three percent of them increased their income! We expect that number to reach 50 percent as more families successfully exit the program in Year Two. Check out the success stories here.

City Places Over 300 Chronically Homeless People into Homes
More than 300 chronically homeless people in Philadelphia are now off the streets, out of shelters and into permanent supportive housing! Most were brought into the system after being engaged by homeless outreach workers in Center City and Kensington. This accomplishment stems from the 100-day street homelessness challenge that began in June 2016. Read more here.

Warmth in Winter
There’s a chill in the air! As you reach for scarves and coats to ward off the cold, don’t forget to show some love to our most vulnerable citizens: children living in emergency and transitional housing in Philadelphia. The 17th Annual Warmth in Winter drive provides gloves, scarves and mittens to kids for the colder months ahead. Get involved by contacting Samantha Pearson, Special Projects Manager, at 215-686-3438.

Events
Project HOME Hub of Hope – First Annual Benefit – 11/6
JEVS Human Services –  Strictly Business Networking and Awards Luncheon – 11/9
Episcopal Community Services – Forum on Justice and Opportunity – 11/11
DBHIDSNarcan Overdose Prevention Training – 11/15 and 12/13
Prevention Point PhiladelphiaCelebrating 25 Years – 11/16

Ready Resources
Where to Turn   |   Meal Schedule  

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102


October 3, 2017

Homeless Shelter Recognized for “Food Moxie”
Elder Rob Harrison, Director, Stenton Family Manor is being honored by Food Moxie for helping homeless families grow, prepare and eat healthy food. Join the celebration

Philly’s Furniture Bank not only makes a house a home, they get people out of shelters sooner!
The Furniture Bank gives people moving out of a shelter a chance to “shop” for home furnishings at no cost. This isn’t just a wonderful program; it actually REDUCES shelter stays by 3 months on average. They are hosting an Open House on October 5th. Get more information here and plan to stop by to learn more about how you can support their work!

200 “Service Days” Makes for Good Neighbors
Did you know that the City’s Office of Homeless Services together with Outreach, the Streets and the Police regularly go out into the community to provide Service Days? That’s when social workers talk with people living on the street, offer services and check that their belongings don’t pose a health and safety threat. People get written notice if they leave behind belongings that must removed

We Never Stop- Sustaining a Virtual End to Veteran’s Homelessness
The 2017 Delaware Valley Veterans Stand Down, held in September at the VA Medical Center reached 200 veterans. The Office of Homeless Services engaged 52 of those in attendance, connecting them with housing and other services. Great work!

Off the Street and Into a Future- Hope for People who are Homeless and Addicted
Pathways for Housing PA gives people with Substance Use Disorder and living on the street a chance to get healthy and off the street by providing a rent subsidy with wrap-around medical, social and psychiatric services. Read more here! 

Events – We’re only as good as our partners. Support them and help us put more people into homes!
Women Against Abuse– iPledge Campaign Press Conference– Oct 4
Food Moxie – From Seed to Supper – Oct 6
The Pink Elephant – Second Annual Run/Walk – Oct 7
Haircut4Homeless – New Beginnings – Oct 8
Lutheran Settlement House – 2017 Men Can Rally – Oct 11
Valley Youth House – Open House – Oct 18
Families Forward Philadelphia – Jannie Blackwell Gala – Oct 18
Share Food Program – Party in the Warehouse – Oct 26
Achieveability – West Philly Golf Classic – Oct 28
Depaul USA – Casino Night – Nov 4
Project HOME – Hub of Hope Benefit – Nov 6

Here’s where you can find more information about these events.

Ready Resources
Where to Turn   |   Meal Schedule  

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102


September 5, 2017

Pathways to Housing PA
This fidelity Housing First model is helping people at the Intersection of the Opioid Crisis and Homelessness.

Community Engagement is a Powerful Tool to Help Vulnerable People
South Street Headhouse District Association hosts a town hall on homelessness and panhandling in Old City.

Are You Up for the Redemption House One Day Challenge?
Experience the challenges of returning home after incarceration. Are you up to it?

Another Perspective on Panhandling and Street Homelessness
You never know what random people on the street will say when approached by a reporter. Hank from Fox 29 does some digging.

Philly as National Expert
Reps from San Diego are coming to town to host an expert roundtable in Philadelphia. They were inspired by the progress we’ve made in the effort to end homelessness and look forward to learning more about it. 

Ready Resources
Where to Turn   |   Meal Schedule  

Office of Homeless Services | City of Philadelphia | 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard | Suite 1030 | Philadelphia, PA 19102