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.
Read below and share the good news!


August 10, 2019

drumbeat logo

The donors, officials and artists behind the “Color Me Back” initiative of Mural Arts Philadelphia cut the ribbon on the programs first mural at Suburban Station. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

BWHYY: City emulates Mural Arts’ “same-day pay” work model after seeing big demand

It’s no secret that people panhandle for one primary reason: They need money.

That’s why creating same day pay programs that also provide an on-ramp to longer term career opportunities is a critical piece of our public-private working group Shared Public Spaces. Recently, WHYY took a look at the successful same day pay program going on between Mural Arts and the Scattergood, Sheller Family, and Barra foundations and how the City is using it for inspiration to scale it up and provide economic opportunity to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable — and connect them to vital services to get them off the street and into homes. “The city has carved out $300,000 from the Commerce Department, the Office of Homeless Services, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services to expand the model,” reports Ximena Conde. “We didn’t want to wait,” explains OHS Director Liz Hersh about the City’s new pilot. “[The model] makes Philadelphia more equitable and a better place,” adds Managing Director Brian Abernathy, “but it can’t be a better place, it can’t be equitable if it’s turning folks away.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEW PILOT PROGRAM!

CBS Philly: Nonprofit helping homeless while cleaning up streets

Same day pay programs help people buy necessities like transit passes, phones, and even, in some cases, places to stay.

CBS Philly looks at one recent collaboration between OHS provider Self, Inc., and nonprofit City Bright Philadelphia. Participants earned cash for helping to clean Philly’s streets.

Same day pay programs offering can take many forms, including providing wages for creating art, removing graffiti, clearing lots, and more — all providing access to income and, in the case of the City’s new pilot program, an on-ramp to stable employment.

WATCH IT!

Al Dia: A day volunteering at one of Philadelphia’s largest homeless shelters

We partner and engage with over 60 amazing homeless service providers, including some that rely exclusively on private donations and support like Sunday Breakfast Mission.

Recently, Al Dia profiled the day a local corporation decided to volunteer and lend their support.

“Many homeless [people] feel invisible, and they feel rejected, or even lost in society. So to have a bunch of corporations like FS to be able to come in, shows immediately to the homeless [people] that someone cares.”

CHECK IT OUT!

The Philadelphia Citizen: Putting art to work

Same day pay continues to get attention as the Philadelphia Citizens looks at the successful Mural Arts pilot.

“Mural Arts paid 430 homeless Philadelphians $22,000 to paint a mural in Suburban Station and access social services,” writes Patrick Bilow. “Their efforts, and a city pilot, aim to help even more people in need.”

Stay tuned for even more news about same day wage and how the City is going to work to expand and support these programs.

“People want to feel useful. Why not let them transform this city into something more beautiful?”

READ IT!

Success stories: OHS partners swing into action during a heat wave

While a lot of the work our partners do relates to longer term programs and case management, the fact is that vulnerable Philadelphians face emergencies every single day. And our amazing providers and friends always rise to the occasion to help.

When a scorching heat wave gripped the region earlier this month, an apartment complex lost power and residents, primarily seniors, had no cool shelter or food.

The City swung into action with the Red Cross, establishing a temporary shelter for displaced residents. But the residents also faced another challenge: What about food?

Community partners, including the Share Food Program and Philabundance, provided nutritious prepared meals for 300 people. Share Food Program also distributed over 100 boxes providing seniors with 30 pounds of non-perishable food items to take home once the power came back on — plus some perishable items to help replace anything lost while fridges had no electricity.

Thank you to Philabundance Community Kitchen and the Share Food Program for lending a hand to those in need — and always being partners we can count on!

HAVE A SUCCESS STORY? EMAIL IT TO US !

OHS Blog: Front line staff on the front lines of what we do!

When people come to us for help, whether they’re literally homeless or facing imminent homelessness, they first encounter our front desk staff. So, we talked with them to learn about their typical day, why they work for the City, and what keeps them grounded. “You have to have a heart for people.” “It’s important for me to not just listen but also hear what the person is saying and be able to assess what their needs might be.” “Helping others is what drives me to go on daily.”

READ THE Q&A AND LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WORK!

Work

First Step Staffing provides connections to both entry level and some skilled positions in light industry. Check them out.

LEARN MORE!

Meals

This is info on where you can get a nutritious meal in Philadelphia, including times and locations.

LEARN MORE!

Recovery

This info provides information on how to get help and what the process is getting substance use treatment.

LEARN MORE!

Success stories: Call for Submissions

We want to promote the amazing work YOU are doing to help make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Philadelphia!

The Office of Homeless Services partners with over 60 local nonprofit, mission-driven organizations providing housing and other services to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents.

Do you have a great success story to share? Is there a staff member receiving recognition? Do you have a program participant whose story affirms why you do what you do? Let us know!

Email your success stories to Josh Kruger by emailing josh.kruger@phila.gov!

Quick links for messaging and information

2018 Annual Report | Contains facts and figures about operations and progress

Roadmap to Homes | Contains info about our five-year strategic plan

OHS on phila.gov | Blogs and press releases about OHS projects and operations

Where to Turn | Lists various resources, including legal, mental health, and others.

Upcoming special events

August 10 | ACHIEVEability| A Summer Jam!

September 5 | One Day At A Time | The Greatest A Black Tie Affair


July 29, 2019

drumbeat logo

Billy Penn: Philly’s quadrupling homeless outreach for Code Red

The record breaking heat wave that engulfed Philly was all anyone was talking about recently, and WHYY’s Billy Penn embedded with homeless outreach as they distributed bottles of water and helped people experiencing homelessness connect to vital services.

“The effort is done strategically, with staff sent to specific city-identified ‘hot spots’ where homeless Philadelphians are most often found,” writes reporter Michaela Winberg.

“It’s a time-consuming process…one person alone took almost 45 minutes to engage. Once the team realized she was willing to accept help, they called a different street outreach team that could handle intake. As they waited, the workers stayed with her to keep her comfortable.”

Read this Outreach Ride-Along

Inquirer: Sizzling heat persists, OHS partners help those displaced from power outage

On Friday, residents at a senior living apartment complex in West Philly lost power.

The City swung into action to help, with the Office of Emergency Management coordinating across agencies to make sure the Philadelphians affected had access to air conditioned, safe spaces and, of course, food.

Part of the relief efforts included OHS partners Philabundance and the Share Food Program.

They helped feed those affected — and replaced groceries that were lost in their refrigerators when the power went out!

READ THE ARTICLE!

Pew’s Stateline: Heatwave threatens public health in cities, states

Pew Charitable Trusts publishes a blog covering state and city news called Stateline.

Correspondent Teresa Wiltz talked to several cities about how they were helping those experiencing homelessness stay safe during the heat, including Philadelphia.

“Around the country, cities are mobilizing outreach teams, armed with copious amounts of water, to check on homeless people and provide transportation to get them to cooling centers,” Wiltz reports.

“Some are even sending out text alerts to people experiencing homelessness.”

READ THE BLOG!

Inquirer: Advocates take action to protect Pennsylvania General Assistance

On July 31, 2019, Pennsylvania’s General Assistance cash benefit ends.

Typically, people on GA do not qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It’s important to note that this change does not affect healthcare benefits, SNAP aka food stamps, or TANF. It only affects those receiving the state’s General Assistance cash benefits.

But advocates, including at Community Legal Services, are swinging into action and doing all they can to get General Assistance reinstated.

READ THE ARTICLE!

Success stories: From homelessness prevention to homeowner!

Homeownership is the quintessential American dream. And in Philadelphia, it’s a way of life. Nearly half of all people own their own homes in Philly.

Essentially, our city of neighborhoods culture can, at its best and with the right supports, create longterm, intergenerational stability in families. That includes participants in Office of Homeless Services programs.

In October 2017, a single mother of three entered one of our homelessness prevention programs. Over the year and a half we teamed up with this family, the parent found stable, full-time employment.

In June 2019, the family became homeowners.

Congratulations to this participant — and thank you to the staff, providers, and everyone else who worked tirelessly to provide compassionate, effective solutions that didn’t just prevent homelessness but also helped buy a home!

HAVE A SUCCESS STORY? EMAIL IT TO US !

Success Stories: Call for submissions!

We want to promote the amazing work YOU are doing to help make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Philadelphia!

The Office of Homeless Services partners with over 60 local nonprofit, mission-driven organizations providing housing and other services to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents.

Do you have a great success story to share? Is there a staff member receiving recognition? Do you have a program participant whose story affirms why you do what you do? Let us know!

Email your success stories to Linda White by emailing linda.white@phila.gov!

Upcoming special events

August 10 | ACHIEVEability| A Summer Jam!

September 5 | One Day At A Time | The Greatest A Black Tie Affair

Quick links for messaging and information

2018 Annual Report | Contains facts and figures about operations and progress

Roadmap to Homes | Contains info about our five-year strategic plan

OHS on phila.gov | Blogs and press releases about OHS projects and operations

Ready Resources

Where to Turn | Meal Access | Substance Use Treatment


July 12, 2019

drumbeat logo

WHYY: Philly helps homeless find work with immediate pay

What does finding compassionate, effective solutions to homelessness and panhandling look like in action? Same day pay pilot programs!
The concept is simple: People experiencing homelessness get access to work and receive wages the same day they’ve worked.
After being so impressed with the innovative collaboration going on between Mural Arts and the Barra, Sheller, and Scattergood foundations on their own same day pay pilot, the City is figuring out how to scale the program up to help even more people. The current pilot, named “Color Me Back” by program participants, gets participants to paint a mural in SEPTA’s Suburban Station concourse. Moving forward, these types of progressive, startup programs are going to be a core part of Shared Public Spaces, the Kenney Administration’s public-private working group focused on finding compassionate, effective solutions to homelessness and panhandling in Philly. Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll be recruiting businesses to join us in our efforts with one goal in mind: to get people off the street and into homes! Stay tuned!

READ WHYY’S STORY!

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness: Philadelphia creating “pioneering” solutions

Recently, the federal government recognized Philadelphia’s efforts at compassionately, effectively closing large encampments as part of the Encampment Resolution Pilot program.

You can learn more about the plan online, including a specific description of how we provide outreach and engagement to those living in encampments for weeks and months before ever closing them, partnering across City agencies including law enforcement to respect rights, dignity, and neighborhoods while offering help and hope.

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recently published a report looking at our efforts, praising them as “pioneering” and “stemming the tide.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also looked at the ERP this year, too.

READ THE REPORT!

KYW Newsradio: Proposed federal rule would leave thousands of children without homes

Recently, the City encouraged people to add their comments to a proposed rule change from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that could, potentially, cause people currently in homes to become homeless.

“The fact that the government would knowingly and willfully take a step that would cause people that are currently housed to become homeless is unconscionable,” Hersh said.

“Currently, undocumented immigrants cannot receive subsidies but can reside with people who are here legally. Housing subsidies are pro-rated to make sure only legal residents are covered,” explained KYW’s Pat Loeb. “The [proposed] rule would force out even legal residents if they live with parents or children who are undocumented.”

While the public comment period ended on
July 9, you can learn why Philadelphia opposed the rule and more details about it in the City’s press release.

CHECK OUT KYW’S STORY!

Success stories: The Roadmap in action with the Young Adult Leadership Committee

Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC) leaders Andre Thomas and Liam Spady just returned from the annual Youth Collaboratory Youth Catalyst Retreat. The event focused on ways to improve the lives of young adults. Our five-year strategic plan, Roadmap to Homes, has specific action steps and goals. One of those action steps includes integrating systems to reduce trauma and better serve people. The Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC) is a core part of this, providing leadership and guidance to Philadelphia’s homeless services system from the perspective of youth with lived experience. But YALC doesn’t just improve our homeless services system. It also provides critical leadership opportunities to youth themselves, preparing the next generation of Philadelphia’s leaders. After coming back from the retreat, Liam says he envisions a world without youth homelessness, instead filled with “a mighty army of youth” who are experts at putting their goals and dreams into action.

LEARN MORE ABOUT YALC!

Success Stories: Call for submissions!

We want to promote the amazing work YOU are doing to help make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Philadelphia!

The Office of Homeless Services partners with over 60 local nonprofit, mission-driven organizations providing housing and other services to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents.

Do you have a great success story to share? Is there a staff member receiving recognition? Do you have a program participant whose story affirms why you do what you do? Let us know!

Email your success stories to Linda White by emailing linda.white@phila.gov!

Upcoming special events

July 18 | Office of Homeless Services| Lived Experience Commission Meeting

July 18 | Office of Homeless Services| CoC Service Provider Commission Meeting

August 10 | ACHIEVEability| A Summer Jam!

September 5 | One Day At A Time | The Greatest A Black Tie Affair

Quick links for messaging and information

2018 Annual Report | Contains facts and figures about operations and progress

Roadmap to Homes | Contains info about our five-year strategic plan

OHS on phila.gov | Blogs and press releases about OHS projects and operations

Ready Resources

Where to Turn | Meal Access | Substance Use Treatment

 


June 28, 2019

drumbeat logo

Mayor Kenney honors two trailblazing business and tourism leaders for their work on homelessness

John McNichol, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, have dedicated their careers to using their business savvy to bring millions of people to Philly — and billions of dollars to the area economy. They’ve also been leaders in a movement to develop compassionate, effective solutions to homelessness and panhandling, too.

Through Shared Public Spaces, the Kenney Administration’s public-private working group focusing on solutions to panhandling and homelessness, Coker Graham and McNichol are changing how a large city’s tourism and hospitality industry approaches homelessness. “They have embraced a compassionate, effective approach that focuses on real solutions, not just band aids,” explains OHS Director Liz Hersh. “The fact that two important leaders who drive the local economy are part of addressing homelessness is huge.”

On June 25, Mayor Kenney presented them both with City citations thanking them for their service and their results-driven, empathy-focused vision. “They have embraced the vision of growing the local economy,” Hersh adds, “being welcoming and inclusive of all.”

LEARN ABOUT WHERE SHARED PUBLIC SPACE STARTED!

KYW Newsradio: Philly ramps up summer program to reduce homelessness, adds new features to Shared Public Spaces

On June 25, Homeless advocates, staff from the Office of Homeless Services, and key stakeholders in Philly’s business, hospitality, and tourism industries celebrated their work on Shared Public Spaces and looked to the future.

Over 100 people joined us for this week’s celebration, including same-day wage program participant Norman B. who read a poem and shared his story about why working together for a shared goal is so important to Philly’s future.

John McNichol of the Pennsylvania Convention Center also announced formation of PHLCares!, a new donor-advised fund the local business and tourism industry will use to support high-impact, results-driven programs to help get people off the street and into homes.

Look for vital updates in the next few weeks about the future, including how YOU can get involved helping us create innovative, high-impact solutions that are compassionate and effective!

READ KYW’S REPORT AND NORM’S POEM!

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Out of Reach 2019” report. How much does it cost to rent a modest two bedroom home

That’s the question answered by the National Low Income Housing Coalition in its 30th edition of “Out of Reach,” which compares wages and rents nationally.

Across the U.S., on average, a full-time worker must earn $22.96 to afford a rental so they aren’t housing burdened, calculated as 30% of their gross income.

Here in Pennsylvania, it’s $19.35. As a reminder, 400,000 Philadelphians are living in poverty and receive $12,000 or less every year.

READ THE ARTICLE!

WHYY: Philadelphia cites progress addressing homelessness, addiction

The Philadelphia Resilience Project, the City’s unified approach to combating America’s opioid crisis, started on October 1, 2018. Mayor Kenney just renewed his executive order establishing #ResilientPHL, extending the project to December 31.

This week, the City released an update, including facts like how the City provided 45,000 bednights to those experiencing homelessness along with other numbers — and info on the months ahead.

“Just because the encampments are gone doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped,” said OHS Director Liz Hersh.

READ THE STORY!

Inquirer: Philly launched a program to put homeless people to work. Here’s what happened

As the City continues to explore how to scale up and build capacity for programs providing low barrier employment and same-day wages, the Philadelphia Inquirer looks back at progress made through the pilot launched by Mural Arts and the Barra, Sheller, and Scattergood foundations.

“It’s not that complicated. People want to work,” Scattergood’s Samantha Matlin said. “It was really just figuring out the logistics to make that happen.”

Check out this update on how the program’s going — and where the idea is going next.

READ THE STORY!

Success Stories: Call for submissions!

We want to promote the amazing work YOU are doing to help make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Philadelphia! The Office of Homeless Services partners with over 60 local nonprofit, mission-driven organizations providing housing and other services to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents. Do you have a great success story to share? Is there a staff member receiving recognition? Do you have a program participant whose story affirms why you do what you do? Let us know!

Email your success stories to Linda White by emailing linda.white@phila.gov!

Upcoming special events

September 5 | One Day At A Time | The Greatest A Black Tie Affair

August 10 | ACHIEVEability| A Summer Jam!

Quick links for messaging and information

2018 Annual Report | Contains facts and figures about operations and progress

Roadmap to Homes | Contains info about our five-year strategic plan

OHS on phila.gov | Blogs and press releases about OHS projects and operations

Ready Resources

Where to Turn | Meal Access | Substance Use Treatment


June 13, 2019

drumbeat logo

Equal Access in Philly: It’s here to stay!

“Philadelphia doesn’t discriminate. Period.”
“It’s absolutely not going to happen in Philadelphia.”
“If transgender youth are denied basic services such as shelter, ‘then they are left to the mercy of the streets, which have no mercy.’”

The federal government recently proposed a rule that would allow federally funded homeless shelters to deny housing to transgender and gender non-conforming applicants. In response, the City joined local homeless advocates speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer about what the rule means for people, both here in Philly and across the nation. Equal access protects everyone, including LGBTQ people but also populations like fathers with children in the homeless services system. Pass this info along to your networks: If you feel that you have been discriminated against in Philly’s homeless services system, call the Office of Homeless Services’ 24/7 comment line at 215-686-4700. It’s staffed by a social worker during business hours, and people can leave messages after hours. You can file complaints anonymously if you want, too. Or send an email to ohs-generalinfo@phila.gov.

Read More About Equal Acess in Philly!

WHYY: Philly budget carves out extra support for low-income families facing homelessness

A new proposed $800,000 addition to OHS prevention programs would save up to 400 families from sleeping in shelters or on the streets.

The program helped 1100 families in 2018 and provides cash assistance to families facing eviction or homelessness. Participants receive help for back rent, security deposits, utility payments, and other costs associated with staying in homes.

By helping families this way, we can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and avoid the trauma of homelessness and its effects on children.

Special thanks to the Family Service Providers Network for their steadfast advocacy and to City Council for making it possible for us to help stabilize low-income families!

READ THE ARTICLE!

City Controller: Office of Homeless Services is one of two City agencies with “exceptional” performance

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart recently recognized the Office of Homeless Services for making exceptional improvements in internal controls in FY2018.

“The Office of Homeless Services is one of two departments being commended for most improved in the last year,” Rhynhart wrote.

The other was the Philadelphia Fire Department.

“I know this type of change is not easy, so I want to thank you and your staff for making this a priority,” Rhynhart wrote to OHS Director Liz Hersh.

“You and your staff have made tremendous pogress …congratulations on a job well done, and keep it up!”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FY 2018 AUDITS!

Success stories: Home4Good

Here are some more housing success stories funded by Home4Good from our provider community!

Friends Rehabilitation Program (FRP) is helping young people who are aging out of foster care. FRP helped one young family get housing and provided a housing subsidy for them for one year. Plus, FRP helped the parent to get a job — which increased the family’s earnings and improved their chances of staying housed!

The Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC), expanded its Medically Fragile Home4Good Project to serve two additional emergency shelters, SELF’s Station House and ODAAT’s men’s shelter. Medical services began in June, ensuring that Philadelphia’s most vulnerable can access critical services.

The next round of funding for Home4Good is around the corner! Be sure to attend OHS’s info session on June 19. You can learn important deadlines and register for that info session online.

Are you a provider or advocate with a similar success story? Email Linda White at linda.white@phila.gov and tell us!

Upcoming special events

June 24 | Action Wellness | Glamsino Royale

June 25 | Office of Homeless Services | Shared Public Spaces Celebration and Relaunch

June 27 | One Day At A Time | The Greatest

Quick links for messaging and information

2018 Annual Report | Contains facts and figures about operations and progress

Roadmap to Homes | Contains info about our five-year strategic plan

OHS on phila.gov | Blogs and press releases about OHS projects and operations

Ready Resources

Where to Turn | Meal Access | Substance Use Treatment


 

May 30, 2019

drumbeat logo

Economic Independence Day: Prosperity is possible for all Philadelphians!

On May 16, OHS Director Liz Hersh joined other community leaders to talk about fighting poverty here in Philadelphia as part of Episcopal Community Services’ Economic Independence Day. Liz talked with ECS and the Philadelphia community about how OHS is challenging poverty, including through helping families experiencing homelessness.

“In Philadelphia we have about 200,000 households who are living in deep poverty; less than 5% of those households become homeless. That’s extraordinary resilience,” she says. “One of the things we do is try to build on the resilience, the strength people have, and give them a little of bit of help so they can move on.”

WATCH THE VIDEO!

Billy Penn: What’s it like to be homeless in Philly? This podcast takes you there

Produced by One Step Away, the street magazine written and distributed by people experiencing homelessness, [the new podcast] Heard lets listeners dive into the details of individuals’ personal stories. The goal is to humanize the city’s street population — and highlight how OSA can help.

READ THE ARTICLE!

PhillyVoice: Philadelphia reports 8 percent drop in overdose deaths

“We didn’t get into this situation overnight, but it’s clear that because of the extensive work of City employees, the Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic, the Philadelphia Resilience Project, and many partners, we’re seeing positive results and saving lives,” Mayor Kenney said.

READ THE ARTICLE!

Success stories: Home4Good

In January 2019, OHS announced it won $1.5 million through a new grant program, Home4Good, for ten local programs ranging from preventing evictions to helping veterans, youth, and people with disabilities who are facing or experiencing homelessness.

One of our providers, DePaul USA, used the Home4Good grant, something only possible thanks to OHS’s grants unit, to help eight people exit shelter programs and enter permanent housing with security deposit assistance.

“I can’t believe this,” the participant says. “I thought I would have to be homeless [for much longer] to save up that kind of money.
I can’t believe I get to spend Father’s Day with my kids in my own home.”

Another provider, UESF, worked with a 39-year-old veteran who served in the Army but isn’t eligible for supportive services for veteran families. Right after he was released from prison in March 2018, he had no housing. Like so many people OHS providers help, he found himself living on couches or, later, staying in dilapidated, unsafe places without indoor plumbing. Since enrolling in the program funded by Home4Good, he’s now employed full-time as a contractor with health benefits and moved into his own one-bedroom apartment!

Are you a provider or advocate with a similar success story? Email Linda White at linda.white@phila.gov and tell us!

SUBMIT YOUR SUCCESS STORY!

Save the date: Shared Public Spaces 2.0

Mark your summer calendars now!

Join the Office of Homeless Services at the PA Convention Center for continental breakfast on Tuesday, June 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. as we launch Shared Public Spaces 2.0.

Originally created in November 2016, this unique, trailblazing public-private patnership has worked to find compassionate, effective solutions to homelessness and panhandling here in Philadelphia.

The launch event on June 25 is an opportunity to thank members past and present for their service to the City of Brotherly Love as well as welcome new members and participants. You’ll learn where we’ve been, where we are, and, most importantly, where are going with the reboot.

We especially want to recognize and thank everyone in the working group for their contributions to our early successes.

Come, have a cup of coffee, network, and hear how the business community is stepping up to work with the Kenney Administration and City Hall to solve problems in an effective, efficient, and thoughtful way.

RSVP ONLINE!

Get a meal provider grant to serve at the Hub of Hope

Is your organization interested in feeding people experiencing hunger in Philadelphia? Apply for the Hub of Hope Meal Provider Grant! This grant provides up to $4,000 to support organizations to serve meals at the Hub of Hope.

Hunger is a continuous challenge for Philly. Nearly 1 in 4 residents is food insecure. Over 25,000 meals were served to homeless and vulnerable individuals at the Hub of Hope in its 1st year of meal service.

The application deadline for this exciting opportunity is June 7.

LEARN MORE AND APPLY!

Partner special events

June 3 | Valley Youth House | John E. Walson Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament

June 24 | Action Wellness | Glamsino Royale

Quick links for messaging and information

2018 Annual Report | Contains facts and figures about operations and progress

Roadmap to Homes | Contains info about our five-year strategic plan

OHS on phila.gov | Blogs and press releases about OHS projects and operations

Ready Resources

Where to Turn | Meal Access | Substance Use Treatment

 


May 16, 2019

drumbeat logo

Project HOME’s Gloria Casarez Residence opens
The permanent supportive housing residence provides 30 LGBTQ-friendly affordable homes for young people ages 18-23 facing homelessness,
including those aging out of foster care. This is the first permanent supportive housing of its kind in Pennsylvania!
The project underscores Philly’s commitment to LGBTQ young adults.
You can also read about progress on LGBTQ inclusion throughout Philly’s homeless services system in the OHS Annual Report.

READ THE ARTICLE!

Inquirer:
More job training, meals for the hungry

This Philabundance food service training program is teaching critical skills to help people succeed on the job!

Learn about their plans for expansion!

READ THE ARTICLE!

Inquirer:
Let’s talk about homelessness now

People experiencing homelessness and advocates attended a forum with candidates to ask one thing:

How do you plan to address homelessness?

READ THE ARTICLE!

Staff Q&A:
How social workers make a difference at OHS

In March, we celebrated social workers and learned they can be as tenacious as superheroes!

So we talked to three OHS trained social workers about what life is like.

READ THE BLOG!

Partner Special Events

May 16 | Episcopal Community Services | Economic Independence Day

May 23 | Mental Health Partnerships | 20th Annual Bell of Hope Breakfast and Colloquium

May 30 | Veterans Multi-Service Center | Phillies Watch Party

June 3 | Valley Youth House | John E. Walson Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament

June 24 | Action Wellness | Glamsino Royale


May 2, 2019

drumbeat logo

New report: 2018 shows marked progress on famililes, LGBTQ inclusion, youth, and so much more

In 2018, we made progress on multiple fronts thanks to the hard work of our partners, provider community, staff, and supporters!
We helped more families, created innovative programs to help people end their experiences of homelessness, strengthened LGBTQ inclusion, helped youth, addressed opioid-related homelessness, and so much more. All of our work is about moving people from homelessness to home and hope!

READ THE NEW 2018 PROGRESS REPORT!

Inquirer:
Center City District resumes special outreach efforts helping hundreds

The program, a partnership between CCD, Project HOME, DBHIDS, the PPD, and OHS is even bigger this year!

READ THE ARTICLE!

Daily
Pennsylvanian:
Philly’s Encampment Resolution Pilot

“We’re such a wealthy and rich society, we’re such a smart society. We shouldn’t have people who are destitute.”

READ THE ARTICLE!

Generocity:
Shoes and socks for 2,000 people experiencing homelessness

Samaritan’s Feet helped so many in need this past weekend, including at some OHS partner sites! Thanks to all participating!

READ THE ARTICLE!

Partner Special Events

May 8 | Bethesda Project | 22nd Annual Party & Auction

May 8 | Lutheran Settlement House | Women of Courage Awards Ceremony

May 14 | SHARE Food Program | Welcome George Matysik Event

May 16 | Episcopal Community Services | Economic Independence Day

June 3 | Valley Youth House | John E. Walson Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament

June 24 | Action Wellness | Glamsino Royale


April 18, 2019

drumbeat logo

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

drumbeat logo

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

drumbeat logo

 

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).



2018 Drumbeats