Strategies to reduce the number of homeless living on downtown streets, while providing compassionate outreach, links to appropriate services and job opportunities.
To address the significant increase in panhandling and homelessness on Center City sidewalks, the CCD funds and deploys innovative outreach teams, Ambassadors of Hope, in a unique partnership with Project HOME and the Philadelphia Police with strong support from the City’s Department of Behavioral Health.
First launched by the CCD in April 2018, combined teams of social service outreach workers from Project HOME, CCD’s specially trained Community Service Representatives (CSRs) and members of the Police Department’s Homeless Service Detail patrol together and helped 134 homeless individuals come off the street last year to connect with appropriate services, while ensuring that those who are on the street comply with local ordinances regarding use of public spaces.
Based on last year’s success, teams from CCD, Project HOME and police resumed daily outreach efforts throughout Center City in April 2019, building relationships with people living on the streets and urging them to come off the streets and accept services. With the number of social service workers from Project HOME doubled in 2019, and with one police officer assigned to each team, as opposed to two in 2018, two teams are able to cover the entire footprint of the Center City District five days a week. Currently, one team covers west of Broad Street and the other covers east of Broad from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The outreach team members meet weekly with program administrators and service providers to coordinate follow-up for those who receive placement to help prevent their return to the streets and to discuss strategies for reaching those on the street who are resistant to accepting help.
There have been no arrests or citations issued since the outreach program began in April 2018.
More than a dozen major office buildings and hotels made significant contributions to support the launch of this effort in 2018. If you need assistance from our team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To expand the impact of the Combined Outreach Program, Project HOME and the Center City District unveiled a new information campaign on December 18, 2018, highlighting five Philadelphians previously living on the streets who chose a path out of homelessness and now seek to inspire others to do the same.
Fifty digital ads and 20 printed posters, pictured below, are appearing in transit shelters throughout Center City and feature photo portraits and success stories of five formerly homeless people – Alfonso, David, Katie, LaToya, and Nasir – speaking to others still living on the street: “Your Story Doesn’t End Here. I Know Because Mine Didn’t.” The posters also provide information about several Center City locations where those in need can get meals, services and access to housing.
“Today more than ever we need to continue the fight to end and prevent street homelessness in Philadelphia. Countless women and men have taken that first step that has led them home. We are redoubling our efforts to engage those who are living on the streets in Philly to end street homelessness,” Project HOME Executive Director Sister Mary Scullion said.
Additionally, counter postcards are available for display by retailers, restaurants, hotels, residential buildings and offices in Center City. These counter cards feature the same five individuals telling members of the public how they can best help and offer information cards that can be handed to people living on the street. The cards communicate where food, services and shelter can be found and provide information about how the public can direct their charitable donations to organizations that are making real change, helping individuals find a way home. You can download those information cards to the right for distribution to those in need on the street or to order counter cards, contact Joann Loviglio at email@example.com.