To address panhandling and homelessness on Center City sidewalks, the CCD funds and deploys innovative outreach efforts, the Ambassadors of Hope, a unique partnership with Project HOME and the Philadelphia Police with strong support from the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health. The CCD launched the effort in 2018, based on the assumption that complex social problems require an interdisciplinary approach, what is termed a “co-delivery” model of service.
Two teams each consisting of Project Home outreach workers; a crisis-intervention trained Philadelphia Police Officer from the Central Service Detail, a Community Service Representative (CSR) Homeless Outreach Team member from CCD, along with a CSR manager with a vehicle available to both teams. The teams patrol on foot and cover the Center City District’s entire footprint, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. One team patrols west of Broad Street and the other patrols east of Broad. In February 2023, an additional Project Home worker was added and, partnered with a CSR, formed a third outreach team working Tuesday through Saturday, with a daily emphasis on engaging with well-known, chronically homeless individuals at recurrent gathering locations. The social service and outreach workers initiate each discussion.
Over the past five seasons, through consistent interaction with the AoH teams, over 700 unsheltered clients accepted help and were transported to service or treatment providers geared toward their individual needs, shelter or housing with CCD providing the transportation in about 90% of the cases. About 40% of those accepting services were chronically homeless individuals who resisted help and placement in the past. Those who did not accept services, but continued to engage in problematic behavior, were instructed by the police officers on the team to cease the behavior and all complied with no citations or code violation notices issued to date.
The AoH teams also secured emergency services (EMS) for more than 40 individuals that they encountered who were in need of immediate medical treatment. You can help us do more by supporting the CCD Foundation today.
2023 is the fourth year, during the winter months, that the CCD and Project Home provided outreach services in the same manner as AoH, except that a trained police officer was not assigned to each team, but was readily available through direct contact if needed. The 2023 Winter Outreach program started in early January and concludes in late April. Over the past four years the teams have helped over 160 unsheltered individuals come off Center City sidewalks, parks and concourses and were taken to housing, services and/or treatment providers.
In late April, the full complement of AoH team members will again be deployed. Contributions to the CCD Foundation are welcome to help continue this important work.
In addition to the AoH and winter outreach, there is also a team of two specially trained CSRs who provide daytime outreach services to connect unsheltered individuals to service providers and help them move off downtown streets to shelter and housing appropriate for their needs.
Donate now to contribute to Ambassadors of Hope.