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.


April 18, 2019

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YALC news: Youth are making an impact!

Liam Spady and Jessie Keel of the Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC) met with funders to talk about how they can help young adults experiencing homelessness.
They discussed Innovative Housing Models including youth-specific rapid re-housing; youth navigator teams; host homes for youth; and flexible homelessnesss diversion funds for youth.

Liam and Andre Thomas are consulting for Youth Collabratory’s Youth Catalyst Team (YCT). The YCT is a group of young leaders from across the country committed to using
knowledge and experience to improve programs, and mobilize youth services.

Tyrone Jones and Lia Lightfoot became members of Philadelphia’s Older Youth Residential Placement Task Force.
The Youth Residential Placement Task Force was created by City Council to examine problems in residential placements and safely reduce their use.

Read more about the YALC and their dedication to ending youth homelessness.

Host Homes program coming to Philly

University of Pennsylvania senior Brendan Taliaferro won a $100,000 President’s Engagment and Innovation Prize to develop a “host home” program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
Brendan collaborated with OHS, the Attic Youth Center, and other organizations to implement the evidence-based initiative.

Read more about the project and the prize here.

Samaritan’s Feet comes to Philly on April 27: Free shoes and socks!

Global nonprofit organization Samaritan’s Feet is coming to Philadelphia later this month thanks to a partnership with some of our partners and friends!
The organization will provide shoes and socks to anyone who needs them, especially Philadelphians experiencing homelessness. All are welcome!
There are four locations that need volunteers to help distribute shoes and socks.
Be sure to spread the word to anyone you serve or work with who might benefit from free shoes and socks, too.

Locations include:
Sunday Breakfast Mission at 304 North 13th Street,
Liberti Church at 123 South 17th Street,
West Kensington Ministries at 2140 North Hancock Street (on April 28), and
the Hub of Hope near Suburban Station.

Want to volunteer or find out more information, including times? Visit Samaritan’s Feet online!

Partner Special Events

Bethesda Project – Taxing Metric Century Bike Ride – 4/27

DePaul USA – Scavenger Hunt – 4/27

Samaritan’s Feet Shoe Giveaway – 4/27-28

Juvenile Law Center – Annual Leadership Prize Celebration – 5/1

Veterans Multi-Service Center – Cinco de Mayo Fiesta – 5/2

Bethesda Project – Party & Auction – 5/8

Lutheran Settlement House – Women of Courage Awards Ceremony – 5/8

Valley Youth House – John E. Watson Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament – 6/3

Bethesda Project – 22nd Annual Party – 6/21

Action Wellness – Glamsino Royale – 6/24

April 4, 2019

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KYW Newsradio looks at the 2019 PIT Count and how the rate of street homelesness growth is slowing

Final numbers from the 2019 PIT Count are in and show that, over the past three years, Philadelphia has significantly slowed the growth of its street homeless population.
KYW Newsradio reporter Tim Jimenez looked at the data, reporting, “In 2017 there was a 36 percent increase in the homeless count compared to the year before. In 2018 it was a 13 percent jump.
This year there was only a 5 percent increase.” His report ran online and across the Delaware Valley’s drivetime radio listeners. “You have to slow the train before you can stop it,” OHS Director Liz Hersh explained.
“So, we’re really pleased to see that we’ve slowed the rate of growth. What that means is: What we’re doing is working.”

Read KYW’s report or check out the press release!

City Council recognizes OHS workers during Social Work Month

Recently, City Council expressed its gratitude toward and admiration of OHS social workers as they address the emotional, psychological, and physical needs of people experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.
Councilmembers Jannie Blackwell and Bobby Henon introduced the proclamation, noting that we served over 16,000 people in 2018.
We’re proud of this honor, and even prouder of our staff that fight for our participants, touch lives, and elevate others every single day.

Germantown organization partners with Hub of Hope to provide meals

Special shout out to one of our meal service providers at the Hub of Hope, Face to Face Germantown. Chef Altenor (above right) and his organization have partnered with the Hub of Hope and OHS to serve meals to the Hub community.
Chef Altenor notes that “serving the less fortunate is more than a service; it is a mission. What we are doing is larger than ourselves and we work hard to dignify every face with every meal we serve.”
The Hub serves about 150 meals a week, and is always looking for more volunteers for meal service. In 2018, the Hub served over 17,000 meals!

Sign up if you’re interested in volunteering with Face to Face Germantown at the Hub!

Longtime Riverview residents receive recognition
Riverview Personal Care Home provides a safe and comfortable living environment to vulnerable, low-income, elderly people who need personal care.
Staff recently recognized several of the long-stayers, surprising them with gifts, at Riverview’s annual Smokey Joe’s Cafe event.
Pictured above (left to right) are residents Betty, Jean, Bernard, and Sheila.
Thanks to Riverview staff for delivering quality comprehensive services and care!

Zero to Three Journal looks at People’s Emergency Center’s BELL project

Zero to Three’s March journal addresses the needs of young children without homes.
We’re excited to share that this edition includes the Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) project.
The journal’s co-editor dedicated this edition to the late Dr. Staci Perlman, who drafted the original concept behind the BELL project.
The project is about increasing knowledge about and access to early education for families making contact with our system.
OHS is a partner in the project, and we are committed to advocating for high quality early childhood education for young children experiencing homelessness.

Read the BELL article.

March 19, 2019

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Billy Penn looks at Philadelphia’s winter initiative

Reporter Michaela Winberg from digital publication Billy Penn talked with OHS, outreach, and advocate Mel Wells from One Day at a Time (ODAAT) for this look at the hard work going on to help people who came inside during this year’s winter initiative.

Read how Philly is making the most of the resources it has to help our city’s most vulnerable.

Penn publishes independent study looking at successes of OHS, the City, and our partners

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania produced an independent report analyzing the unified, person-centered approach the City took closing the first two of four major homeless encampments in Kensington.

Read the key facts blog from the Office of Homeless Services, which includes important insights like that 85% of all encampment residents were from Philadelphia and 57% had previously spent time in a homeless shelter.

Check out WHYY’s report, Curbed Philly’s writeup, and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s look at the Penn study.

Partner success story: Gaudenzia Tioga Arms Apartments resident earns multiple scholarships

Here’s a great story of tenant accomplishment from one of our partner organizations, Gaudenzia, Inc. Read it and smile!

“Taryn P. and her mom, Deb O., are both proud residents of Gaudenzia’s Tioga Arms Apartments. Taryn is a senior at Gratz Mastery Charter School who excels in her studies, and has been offered full scholarships to several colleges. Deb O. and her daughter were participants in Gaudenzia’s WINNER treatment program in 2007 but remained homeless after their treatment. The family has resided at Tioga Arms since 2010. ‘It took a village to raise my daughter,’ says the proud mom, ‘…and look at her now!’”

Pictured below is Deb O (left) holding a super-size photo of her daughter, and Toni Montier, Gaudenzia’s Eastern Region Director of Housing (right).

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