The mission of the Office of Homeless Services is to provide the leadership, coordination, planning and mobilization of resources to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring for the City of Philadelphia.
Homeless Services works collaboratively with more than 60 mostly nonprofit, homeless housing and service providers combined with city, state and federal governmental entities to comprise Philadelphia’s homeless service system or Continuum of Care (CoC). This system provides emergency housing and services to people who are both experiencing homelessness and at imminent risk of homelessness. It includes homelessness prevention and diversion, emergency, transitional and rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, case management, supportive services, emergency response, service days (clean up of encampments), food and commodity distribution to contracted emergency housing facilities and soup kitchens and operation of the Riverview, a personal care home.
Homeless Services supports:
- 24 emergency housing facilities for singles and families with a total capacity of 2,622 beds;
- 16 transitional housing programs which housed 495 households in FY16;
- 5,825 Permanent Supportive Housing units including 200 annual housing vouchers for singles and 300 housing opportunities for families through a partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority which has an 88 percent success rate for singles and 97 percent success rate for families in preventing a return to homelessness;
- Homeless intake which sees 20,000 people a year, diverting 40 percent from shelter entry;
- Financial assistance to 824 households to prevent homelessness; and
- Rapidly Re-housed 339 households with an 85 percent success rate in preventing a return to homelessness.
Most Urgent Projects
Shared Public Spaces
Homeless Services is now developing a holistic, transparent, representative infrastructure for action on homelessness, panhandling and outdoor meal service to make our Shared Public Spaces safe and secure for all.
Targeting Youth Homelessness
City Council noted that youth homelessness is a disturbing emergent trend exacerbated by access to heroin and related to the rejection of LGBTQ youth by their families. Youth in unsheltered locations or dangerous situations need an immediate safe place to help them meet basic survival needs (shelter, food, clothing, personal hygiene).
The City has awarded funds for the provision of services for homeless youth ages 18-24, (with and without children). Services will provide “crisis housing” and strengthen the crisis response system by providing quick access to shelter and emergency services. The goal is to expand the resources for homeless youth in a systemic way by providing interventions to prevent, shorten, and/or end the experience of homelessness.