Advocates have long been working to aid the hard-to-reach chronically homeless, who often do not seek out services like shelter housing. Project H.O.M.E. has developed a solution: bringing services like housing options and medical care to the homeless.
“A huge benefit of being down here is that we’re right where they live,” project coordinator Melissa Beamer said.
“Down here” refers to the Suburban Station concourse, where Project H.O.M.E. — with the help of SEPTA and the city — has opened up a small center in a storefront formerly home to a business called Profiles Hair Design.
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Hub of Hope, a winter pilot initiative that started last Tuesday and will run until April, services the 200-plus homeless — who call Suburban Station home — by operating right in their proverbial backyard. The small center targets the concourse's chronically homeless, or "long-term stayers," giving them acute on-site medical care and suggesting emergency housing options while encouraging and working with them to connect to more permanent resources.
The Hub’s biggest lure for one longtime homeless man, Anthony Logan, 49, who also volunteers at the center, is education. “Different people here are going to help me as far as going back to school to get my GED so I can do what I want to do — give back to the homeless,” he said.
Logan was convinced by an outreach worker to give up his sleeping spot on the concourse and visit the Hub. Under the service center’s guidance, he agreed to move to emergency housing at the Arch Street United Methodist Church and hopes to own his own place one day, though he acknowledges that the wait for permanent housing is six months to a year - or more. “People need to learn patience," he said. "Out of all of the shelters, I do have to say Arch Street is the best.”
Miles from home
Mayor Michael Nutter announced his 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in May 2008. Its goals
Creating “low-demand” housing for the chronically homeless
Limiting shelter size and specializing services
Cultivating civic support, private resources and standardized cross-departmental social services
Providing more training programs and living wage jobs