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.


May 24, 2018

Special ENCAMPMENT PILOT UPDATE

Promising News from the Encampment Pilot
Opioid-related homeless encampments present one of the most complex situations Philadelphia has encountered in recent history.
The existing encampments are in a densely residential neighborhood, which not only creates an unsafe and unhealthy environment for residents, but creates tension.

The City launched a pilot on April 30th to offer people experiencing homeless who have opioid use disorder immediate access to treatment and low-barrier housing.
The pilot is serving two tunnels: Kensington and Tulip streets north of Lehigh.

The pilot is getting promising results:

  • Nearly 100 people have come in – so far.
  • About 40% of those have gone into treatment. As a system, this is as close as we have ever come to treatment on demand.
  • The pilot brings services to the site and offers immediate access, authorization and transportation to treatment. It’s working.
  • More people from the camps went into treatment in the first two weeks of the pilot than in the previous six months.
  • People want help – when we offer what they need and want! The new Prevention Point navigation respite is already full.
  • There are still low-barrier respite beds available at ODAAT for people in the pilot.
  • Low barrier means people can enter without ID, bring their belongings and come as a community if they choose. They can’t use on site, but can come and go.
  • Daytime services are available 7AM-7PM at Prevention Point. They are seeing record numbers of people for meals and services.
  • There is drug treatment available and we are working to get people in. Many advocates and neighbors are helping.
  • Police have ramped up enforcement in the area to accompany the offer of services.
  • Many people who hang out under the tunnels don’t sleep there.

We know that the pilot doesn’t address the whole problem, but it is getting promising results. It is showing what works – people are coming in.

Kate Perch, housing coordinator at Prevention Point said, “When people have a stable space to sleep in every night, when people know that their belongings are safe, their person is safe, it’s a lot easier to engage in some of those more difficult conversations. About things like treatment and housing.”

Click here for the latest WHYY story. Click here for the latest Inquirer story.
Click here to learn about the crisis of opioid driven homelessness and the pilot. Click here for details about the pilot in Spanish.


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


May 22, 2018

Teresa Cherry (right) at the Homeless Services Charrette December 2017

Shout Out to Ms. Cherry
Shout out to Teresa Cherry! She’s the Homeless Services Children’s Program Coordinator and a strong education advocate.
Her mantra is “education is the greatest tool to combat homelessness.” She’s part of the Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) team and provides great insight
into linking the homeless housing and early childhood education systems.
Click here to read more about the BELL team’s work. Thanks, Teresa for your dedication to children!


Promising Practices
The Family Service Provider Network (FSPN) just released Version 2 of Promising Practices for Philadelphia’s Students Who Experience Homelessness.
This resource can help family service providers build strong partnerships with schools to help homeless students achieve academic success. Get it here.


Meals & More Grants
Mayor Kenney just announced the launch of new Meals & More grants to bring volunteer meal providers to the Hub of Hope.
Help bring meals to our food insecure neighbors! Deadline to apply is 6/8. You can get more information and apply here.
There’s also a public information session on 5/22.


EARU News
The Emergency Assistance and Response Unit (EARU) information line has a new phone number: 215-686-7177 and address: 1430 Cherry Street at the Appletree Family Center (AFC).
EARU moved to AFC in January to provide homeless prevention services at our front door. Click here for more about prevention and diversion services.


Provider Special Events
Valley Youth House – Annual Youth Art Show – 5/30
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia – Combatting Homelessness Through Economic Empowerment – 5/30
Valley Youth House – Setting the Stage with Elton John – 9/8
Mission First Housing Group – Welcome Home 2018 – 10/4


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

 


May 8, 2018

Eviction Task Force Draft Report Issued
The Mayor’s Eviction Task Force issued its draft report for public comment on 4/2. Check it out here. The Public Comment Session is 5/8 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm in the Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Blvd., Suite 1450. Submit written comments to evictiontaskforce@phila.gov by 5/11 at 5 pm.
You can help the City reduce the number of evictions and protect low-income people in Philly!


It’s A Good Day
Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia just ran a great story on how the city is fighting homelessness. Director Liz Hersh stopped by to talk with the hosts about the size of the problem, and share information on how to help people experiencing homelessness. Check out the video here.


Good Food for All Conference
Our Food Access Collaborative is participating in the Free Library’s “Good Food for All” conference on May 10.
We’re on a panel with Project HOME, Broad Street Ministry, Muslims Serve, and Philabundance to discuss providing meals to the Hub of Hope.
This event will be held at the Parkway Central Library. If you’d like to attend click here.


Serenity Court Opens
Two weeks ago we announced the opening of Serenity Court, the new homeless medical respite program established by Public Health Management Corporation.
We’re very excited about it, and want to tell you more. Check it out here.


Power Collaboration
Community Legal Services (CLS) gave Homeless Services a huge shout out. CLS attorneys are talking about winning cases because their clients got rental assistance from OHS.
In cases where a tenant’s subsidized housing is on the line, funding from OHS and legal representation can prevent homelessness. We’re proud of this powerful collaboration!


Youth Leaders Needed!
The Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC) is looking for new members!
If you are age 16 – 24 and have experienced homelessness, you can help make sure the young adult voice is heard when decisions and policies are made that impact people like you! Applications are due 6/8 and can be found here with more information.


Provider Special Events
Juvenile Law Center – Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/9
Free Library of Philadelphia – Good Food for All Conference – 5/10
One Step Away – Champions Celebration – 5/10
Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage-10 Year Anniversary of Jane Addams House – 5/18
Valley Youth House – Annual Youth Art Show – 5/30
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia – Combatting Homelessness Through Economic Empowerment – 5/30
Valley Youth House – Setting the Stage with Elton John – 9/8
Mission First Housing Group – Welcome Home 2018 – 10/4

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


April 24, 2018

Philadelphia Works Helps Get the Job Done
Homeless Services is excited to announce a great new partnership with Philadelphia Works that will connect job opportunities to people experiencing homelessness.
Philly Works will provide services at the Appletree Homeless Response Center to help people increase income and ultimately sustain housing in the community.
Check out our newest partner here.


Testimony Speaks to Value of Investment in Homeless Services
The Office of Homeless Services presented its FY 19 Budget Testimony to Philadelphia City Council. Director Liz Hersh testified about our work on opioid-driven homelessness;
focusing resources on the most vulnerable; and partnerships to help families and youth – the invisible homeless.
Read the full testimony and learn about our plans for FY 19 here.


Serenity Court Medical Respite Opens
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) announces the opening of Serenity Court.
This facility will address a growing need for a safe and stable place for homeless individuals to recover from illness after a hospital stay.
People who are medically fragile are regularly discharged from hospitals to shelters, and shelter is unable to provide adequate care.
This new strategy is pioneered by PHMC and OHS and funded by HUD.
Referrals can be made Monday – Friday 7 am to 3 pm at 215-817-9864 or ggentile@phmc.org.


Meal Service Expanded
We’re happy to announce that meal service at the Hub of Hope has expanded! Beginning April 7 dinner is being served on Friday and Saturday.
Would you like to be a meal provider? If so, please contact jo.lin@phila.gov.
Hunger has increased in Philly while declining nationwide, mostly due to the city’s high poverty rate.
It’s hard to be poor and hungry, but here’s a resource that can help.


Provider Spotlight
This week’s spotlight shines on two of our awesome partner organizations that help people experiencing homelessness.

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
A private, faith-based organization which is the third oldest rescue mission in the country.
They provide safe beds and meals to homeless guests 365 days a year.

People’s Emergency Center
Their Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) Project was launched in 2016 and is still going strong.
Its simple goal is to help prepare young children living in emergency housing for success in kindergarten.


Coming Events
Lutheran Settlement House –
Women’s Empowerment Panel – 4/26
Bethesda Project
 – 21st Annual Party and Auction – 5/3
Veterans Multi-Service Center – Veteran’s Fiesta – 5/4
Dignity Housing – 30th Anniversary Celebration – 5/5
ACHIEVEAbility – Food for Thought – 5/5
Juvenile Law Center – Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/9
Free Library of Philadelphia – Good Food for All Conference – 5/10
One Step Away – Champions Celebration – 5/10
Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage-10 Year Anniversary of Jane Addams House – 5/18
Valley Youth House – Setting the Stage with Elton John – 9/8
Mission First Housing Group – Welcome Home 2018 – 10/4

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


April 10, 2018

Lease Signing for HOME$200

HOME$200
We started a pilot program in December that’s been busy moving people from the streets into homes. HOME$200 is a shallow rent program for people living below the poverty line. Results: 30 families will sign leases within the next two weeks, 30 singles have been moved from emergency shelter, recovery houses, and safe havens, and 20 people who have been in shelter for long stays will be moving into their homes soon. Housed people are not homeless!


CEA-BHRS Update
CEA-BHRS ensures that we use the resources in our homeless housing system to end housing crises more quickly. It knocks down barriers for people to get and maintain housing. People will know exactly where to go to get help, and their housing needs will be assessed in a more consistent manner. Read more about CEA-BHRS here.

To date 280 people have been trained in CEA-BHRS policies and procedures, and over 800 housing assessments were completed! Has your organization attended training? The schedule for CEA-BHRS training sessions can be found here.


Hub of Hope Update
The newly expanded Hub of Hope opened January 31 — and they see an average 325-375 people per day! In two months the Hub had a total 414 placements into shelters, safe havens, and treatment centers. The success stories behind the statistics are heartening. A man who is wheelchair-bound and was street homeless for five years took a shower for the first time in months. Another man who visited the Hub for coffee for years but never talked with a case manager or staff accepted placement into a Safe Haven. Thanks to Hub staff, the Outreach Coordination Center and other partner organizations for creating and managing this amazing engagement center.


Provider Spotlight
This week’s spotlight shines on two of our awesome partner organizations that help people experiencing homelessness.

One Step Away (OSA)
This newspaper gives a voice to people living on the street. You’ve probably seen the vendors in neon green vests around Philly. OSA creates opportunities for homeless people to earn money. Next time you see a vendor – buy a paper!

Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP)
HAP offers free legal help for homeless people. They can help with child custody, credit issues, landlord-tenant issues and access to public benefits.


CORRECTION – Bethesda Beacon
Bethesda Beacon, a new daytime engagement and resource center for chronic street homeless people at Liberti Church, will be coming soon. The center is in the planning stages and not yet open for services. We mistakenly reported that there is an open house on April 11. Please note that there is not an open house for the public tomorrow. You can click here to learn more about the project.


Coming Events

Congreso de Latinos Unidos – Job Fair – 4/11
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network – Empty Plate Dinner – 4/14
Pathways to Housing PA – Philadelphia Chair Affair – 4/19
Action Wellness – Dining Out for Life – 4/19
Bethesda Project – 21st Annual Party and Auction – 5/3
Dignity Housing – 30th Anniversary Celebration – 5/5
ACHIEVEAbility – Food for Thought – 5/5
Juvenile Law Center – Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/9
One Step Away – Champions Celebration – 5/10
Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage-10 Year Anniversary of Jane Addams House – 5/18
Valley Youth House – Setting the Stage with Elton John – 9/8

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


March 28, 2018

Joseph Hill-Coles (center) speaking to the South Street Head House District

He’s A Winner!
Joseph Hill-Coles, Philly’s first Community Navigator for homeless youth, was selected as a Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) 2018 Cassaundra Rainey Youth Champion Award winner! He was chosen because of his passionate and tireless advocacy on behalf of youth experiencing homelessness. He’ll receive the award at CWLA’s 2018 National Conference in Washington, DC. The nation’s most influential leaders in child welfare will have the chance to hear how awesome he is!

Provider Spotlight
This week’s spotlight shines on three awesome organizations that help comprise our homeless service system:

Episcopal Community Services
They operate 24 hours a day and provide services to help families resolve a current crisis, build the skills to become self-sufficient, and develop ways to prevent future homelessness. Last year 135 families came to St. Barnabas Mission for temporary shelter.

Veterans Multi-Service Center
The Perimeter drop-in center in Philly served about 3,600 people in 2016, and their Women’s Veterans Center just celebrated its 4th birthday!

Women Against Abuse
They offer a variety of workshops for community groups and organizations, including public schools and city agencies. Topics include: Teen Dating Violence for Adults; Domestic Violence 101; and Domestic Violence for Professionals. All workshops are available in English and Spanish.

2018 Point in Time Count – The Numbers Are In
We just released the results of Philly’s annual Point in Time (PIT) Count. Here’s the good news: the rate of growth of street homelessness in the city has slowed to 10% after spiking to 32% in 2017. What we’re doing is working! But, despite our best efforts and the resulting progress, the total number of unsheltered people has increased from 930 to 1,020. This number is primarily driven by the opioid crisis which claimed an estimated 1,200 lives in Philadelphia last year. Read more here:

Update on Opioid Crisis
Homeless Services testified before City Council on March 12 on its response to the opioid crisis that has taken a record number of lives across the city. Liz Hersh focused on our work in Kensington, detailing how we’re using Housing First to move people off the streets, and developing strategies to close homeless encampments. Click here to read Liz’s complete testimony.

Coming Events
Women Against Abuse – Dish it Up 10th Anniversary – 3/28
Gaudenzia – 25th Annual Women and Children’s Conference – 3/29 & 30
Homeless Advocacy Project – Annual Benefit – 4/5
Congreso de Latinos Unidos – Job Fair – 4/11
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network – Empty Plate Dinner – 4/14
Pathways to Housing PA – Philadelphia Chair Affair – 4/19
Bethesda Project – 21st Annual Party and Auction – 5/3
Dignity Housing – 30th Anniversary Celebration – 5/5
ACHIEVEAbility – Food for Thought – 5/5
Juvenile Law Center – Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/9
Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage-10 Year Anniversary of Jane Addams House – 5/18
Valley Youth House – Setting the Stage with Elton John – 9/8

 

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


March 14, 2018

Hub of Hope

Hub of Hope Update
The Hub of Hope daytime engagement center in Suburban Station offers hope through year-round services for people experiencing homelessness in Center City. People who come to their door can shower, do laundry, and get connected to services to help stabilize their lives. Now they can get a meal on Friday evenings, addressing a bit of food insecurity. Would you like to help provide meals? Click here. Would you like to help serve meals? Click here.

Provider Spotlight
We have the most amazing network of partners. Hard working. Committed. Creative. Relentless advocates. We’ll give a shout out to their phenomenal work with each issue.

Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN)
They hold Renters’ Rights & Responsibilities workshops every Saturday morning to help tenants avoid eviction and remain housed.

Covenant House
They provide shelter and services to 700 young people each year who come to their service center in Philly. We are proud that they’re part of our Housing 4 Youth Collaborative.

People’s Emergency Center
In 2017, 736 people were served through their Criminal Record Expungement Clinic.

CEA-BHRS Launched
Have you heard about CEA-BHRS (pronounced “see-breeze”)? It’s Philadelphia’s Coordinated Entry and Assessment-Based Housing Referral System — one more way to quickly move people from homeless to housed. Launched on January 23, CEA-BHRS modernizes the system to match people based on need rather than first-come/first-served. It’s a major system transformation initiative that creates universal access points, standardized assessment, and housing placement. It does not add resources, it is designed to help us better deploy them. Click here for more details.

Youth Access Points Now Open
If you are 18-24 years old and experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia you can now go to an access point for youth and young adults to be evaluated for services through the City homeless assistance system. Visit Valley Youth House or the Attic Youth Center for help. Click here for more information. If you are under 18, contact one of the Runaway and Homeless Youth providers for help. Here’s the list.

Coming Events
Shared Safety Open Meeting – 3/14
Gaudenzia – 50th Anniversary Dinner – 3/18
Homeless Advocacy Project Free Birth Certificate Clinic – 3/20
One Day at a Time– Group Night with Freeway Rick Ross – 3/23
Women Against AbuseDish it Up 10th Anniversary – 3/28
Gaudenzia 25th Annual Women and Children’s Conference – 3/29 & 30
Homeless Advocacy ProjectAnnual Benefit – 4/5
Congreso de Latinos UnidosJob Fair – 4/11
Pathways to Housing PAPhiladelphia Chair Affair – 4/19
Bethesda Project21st Annual Party and Auction – 5/3
Dignity Housing30th Anniversary Celebration – 5/5
ACHIEVEAbility Food for Thought – 5/5
Juvenile Law Center – Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/9
Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage-10 Year Anniversary of Jane Addams House – 5/18
Valley Youth HouseSetting the Stage with Elton John – 9/8

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

February 28, 2018


Homeless Services Food Access Unit
L to R: Kerry Mahon, Madeline Guth, Billy Hoffer, Katie Dockhorn, Jo Lin

Welcome the New Food Access Unit
One in four Philadelphians are food insecure – hunger and poverty hurt so many of our neighbors. Homeless Services now has a Food Access Unit to address food insecurity. A big welcome to Jo Lin, Homeless Services’ Food Access Manager, and her able and eager staff! Click here to see where to get free meals and here for more information on hunger in Philadelphia.

Good News For Renters
One in 14 renters in Philly renters received an eviction notice in 2015. Most of the time when renters go to landlord-tenant court they lose. That’s because landlords can afford lawyers, tenants usually can’t. The Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project can help renters facing eviction. We’re excited about its potential to prevent homelessness. The Public Comment Session is 3/5 4-6 PM at 801 Market Street. If you want to speak, sign up by 3/1. Read more about it here

Birth Certificates
Do you or someone you know need an ID to access benefits? You may be able to get one from the state of PA without paying the application fee. To get more information on waiving the fee call the PA Department of Health at 844-228-3516 or visit their website.

What an Honor!
We’re proud to announce that Liz Hersh is among the honorees for the Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) annual Women of Courage event! Mark your calendars for 5/18 and plan to celebrate LSH’s 10 years of serving families experiencing homelessness at Jane Addams Place. Congratulations Liz!! Click here for more information.

We Know What Works!
Did you know that there is a 90% success rate for people who exit homelessness into permanent housing? That’s an amazing number that shows the importance of supportive housing in stabilizing households who are exiting homelessness. Read more about supportive housing here

Coming Events
Public Comment Session on Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Program – 3/5
Congreso de Latinos Unidos Gala Latina 2018 – 3/10
Gaudenzia – 50th Anniversary Dinner – 3/18
Women Against AbuseDish it Up 10th Anniversary – 3/28
Gaudenzia 25th Annual Women and Children’s Conference – 3/29 & 30
Pathways to Housing PA – Philadelphia Chair Affair – 4/19
Bethesda Project – 21st Annual Party and Auction – 5/3
ACHIEVEAbility Food for Thought – 5/5
Juvenile Law Center – Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/9
Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage-10 Year Anniversary of Jane Addams House – 5/18

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

January 31, 2018


Prevention Point at the 2018 Point in Time Count

2018 Point In Time Count
Over 400 volunteers hit the streets overnight January 24 to count unsheltered homeless people in Philly. What’s new this year is that more than 40% of the volunteers had been homeless. The annual count helps the City to decide where to put resources to move people from the streets into homes. Click here to read more.

HUD Team at the 2018 Youth Count

2018 Youth Count
Youth Count Philadelphia took place on January 25. Another group of awesome volunteers covered the city to survey homeless youth age 13-24 about their housing stability. The count will tell us the size of the youth population in need housing and support services in our city. Thanks to all who helped out!

Helping a Neighborhood in Crisis
Mike DiBerardinis, Philly’s Managing Director, recently talked to Fairhill residents about ways the City is fighting the opioid epidemic in their community. Some solutions included: warming centers, safer encampments, recovery housing, and safe injection sites. Read moreabout how the City wants to save lives in Kensington.

Hub of Hope Opens
On January 30 the Hub of Hope opened in the SEPTA Concourse. The first-of-its-kind in any big city transit center, the 11,000 square foot Hub provides showers, meals, physical and behavioral health services with a special focus on chronically homeless people. Thanks to Project HOME, SEPTA, and many others for bringing this center to life. Here’s more information about the Hub of Hope. Other agencies providing daytime services include New Life Recovery Center, Philadelphia FIGHT, and One Day at a Time. Check out the list here.

Coming Events
Action Wellness – Glamsino Royale 2/15
Congreso de Latinos Unidos Gala Latina 2018 – 3/10
Gaudenzia – 50th Anniversary Dinner – 3/18
Women Against AbuseDish it Up 10th Anniversary – 3/28
Gaudenzia 25th Annual Women and Children’s Conference – 3/29 & 30
Pathways to Housing PA – Philadelphia Chair Affair – 4/19
Bethesda Project – 21st Annual Party and Auction – 5/3
ACHIEVEAbility Food for Thought – 5/5

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


January 17, 2018


Here’s What Success Looks Like
One of our favorite stories of 2017!
Brenda lived on the streets for many years. She and other two formerly chronic street homeless women are now living at Bethesda Serenity house.
This photo is from their housewarming. Thanks to the Bethesda Project and our amazing partners for their commitment to moving people from the streets to a home.

Code Blue Update
The recent bone-chilling weather was remarkable, but even more remarkable was the City’s response to the crisis. During the longest Code Blue in recent memory no homeless individuals died of exposure. Philly really pulled together to help its most vulnerable citizens. Thanks to everyone! Click here to read the highlights.

CoC Funding
Great news! HUD awarded the City $33,850,808 in renewal, new and Continuum of Care (CoC) planning projects. This means that we, and our amazing providers, can continue the critical work to move people from homeless to housed. Click here to see the summary of the award. Congratulations to the CoC planning team and Homeless Services for its work!

Coming Events
People’s Emergency Center BELL Forum – 1/19
Action Wellness – Glamsino Royale 2/15
Congreso de Latinos Unidos Gala Latina 2018 – 3/10
Gaudenzia – 50th Anniversary Dinner – 3/18
Women Against AbuseDish it Up 10th Anniversary – 3/28
Gaudenzia 25th Annual Women and Children’s Conference – 3/29 & 30
ACHIEVEAbility Food for Thought – 5/5

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


For our 2017 Newsletters please click here.