FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA (December 18, 2018) — Project HOME and the Center City District today unveiled a new information campaign that is initially being deployed on 70 transit shelters in Center City, 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.
“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.
Fifty digital ads and 20 printed posters will appear 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.
Additionally, counter postcards will be distributed by the end of the week to retailers, restaurants, hotels, residential buildings and offices in Center City on which the same five individuals tell 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.
The campaign is an outgrowth of the Combined Outreach Program, a 30-week pilot program funded and launched last spring by the CCD and implemented in partnership with Project HOME, the Philadelphia Police Department’s service detail and with strong support from the city’s Department of Behavioral Health. Results from the cooperative effort, which ran from April 23 to November 16, were very positive: 134 people chose to come off the street and enter social service, mental health and housing programs. The CCD provided transportation for 55% of those people, easing the connection to services for many who had been reluctant to accept help.
The pilot program involved daily interaction with Center City’s chronically homeless population by specially trained teams comprised of two Project Home outreach workers, two CCD Community Service Representatives and two officers from the police service detail. The teams covered the entire footprint of the Center City District in two shifts, with one shift covering west of Broad Street and the other covering east of Broad. Not a single arrest or citation was issued during the entire outreach effort; the primary emphasis was on connecting people with services.
The outreach team members met weekly, along with the administrators of the program and service providers, to coordinate follow-up for those who received placement to help prevent their return to the streets and to discuss strategies for reaching those who were resistant to accepting help.
“This ad campaign is an extension of our combined outreach effort with Project HOME, offering a new way to let people living on the streets know that help is available and recovery a reality. The message for the campaign was proposed by Sister Mary and her team at Project HOME and realized by the LevLane ad agency and the design team at Center City District. We also want to let the general public know the most effective ways they can help those in need,” said Center City District President Paul R. Levy.
More than a dozen office buildings and hotels contributed to the CCD to defray the costs of this intensive effort. Based on the successful pilot, an expanded Combined Outreach Program will return in April 2019.
“To truly end and prevent chronic street homeless, we need a strong public private partner. We are proud to partner with Project HOME and Center City District on this and other initiatives to end homelessness in our city,” said Liz Hersh, director of the city’s Office of Homeless Services.
About the Center City District Foundation
The Center City District Foundation (CCDF) is a 501(c)3 organization and is the charity of choice for engaged citizens who care deeply about the vitality and competitiveness of Center City. Working together with the Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, CCDF supports initiatives that improve the quality of life and make downtown Philadelphia unique and engaging. Visit supportccdf.org for more.
About Project HOME
The mission of the Project HOME community is to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. We strive to create a safe and respectful environment where we support each other in our struggles for self-esteem, recovery, and the confidence to move toward self-actualization. Visit projecthome.org for more.