Our History

  • History of Project HOME

Since its beginning in 1989, Project HOME has been a leader in providing comprehensive and effective services to persons who experience chronic homelessness. With innovation, leadership, and an unyielding commitment to the dignity of each person, we have developed nationally recognized programs that have proven that homelessness can be solved. We have also been a leader in Philadelphia in responding to the root causes of homelessness by helping to rebuild low-income neighborhoods and by engaging in political advocacy to bring about positive public policies for low-income and homeless persons.

1989

  • Staff and volunteers from Bethesda Project and Women of Hope pool their resources to respond to the unmet needs of the chronically homeless persons who were still living on the streets, setting up a temporary shelter called the Mother Katherine Drexel Residence for chronically homeless men

1990

  • Project HOME takes over the Outreach Coordination Center to coordinate street outreach throughout the City of Philadelphia
  • Diamond Street Residence (later called Hope Haven) opened, offering transitional housing for 12 men

1991

  • The Crossing opens as a second transitional residence for 10 men (It later serves women, and closes in 2003)
  • Seeds of Hope opens, our first after-school program in the Diamond Street neighborhood

1992

  • Kairos House transitional residence and In Community Supported Independent Living Program open for persons with mental health issues who are homeless
  • Project HOME takes over operation of St. Columba, an emergency shelter for older, frail men

1993

  • St. Elizabeth’s Recovery Residence opens, providing transitional housing for homeless men struggling with addiction
  • Opened several job-training and employment initiatives, including the Back HOME Café, Our Daily Threads thrift store, and an expanded cottage industry program

1994

  • Project HOME wins the right to provide housing at 1515 Fairmount Avenue, after four years of legal and political opposition

1995

  • Project HOME begins participation in The Philadelphia Plan, partnering with Crown Cork & Seal to do comprehensive community development in the Diamond Street and St. Elizabeth’s Neighborhood

1997

  • Women of Change opens, a “safe haven” for mentally-ill women from the streets

1998

  • First rehabilitated homes are developed and sold to first-time homebuyers. Between 1998 and 2013, Project HOME rehabilitates 49 homes in the Diamond Street/St. E’s neighborhood, bringing some blocks back to between 90 percent and 100 percent occupancy
  • Project HOME battles a proposed Sidewalk Behavior Ordinance, ultimately winning both reduced penalties and increased resources for street outreach and entry-level housing programs

1999

  • Project HOME spearheads the “Election ’99: Leadership to End Homelessness” coalition, which holds the biggest Mayoral candidates’ forum of the election season and kicked off its voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts

2000

  • Rowan Homes Judson Street opens, providing housing and services to 31 homeless families.

2001

  • Second phase of Rowan Homes on Diamond Street opens, providing housing and services to 8 homeless families

2004

  • The Honickman Learning Center Comcast Technology Labs opens, a 38,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art learning center
  • Kate’s Place opens, providing 144 units of affordable housing  for low- to moderate-income individuals in Center City

2008

  • The HOME Page Café opens, in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia

2010

  • Connelly House opens, providing 79 units of permanent housing through a unique joint venture with Bethesda Project
  • Project HOME and collaborating agencies launch the Middleton Partnership, with the catalyst of a major leadership gift from John and Leigh Middleton

2011

  • James Widener Ray Homes opens, providing 53 units of permanent, supportive housing to formerly homeless men, women, and families
  • Project HOME initiates a new initiative for homeless veterans and their families, the Philadelphia Alliance for Supportive Services to Veteran Families (PASSVF)

2012

  • Project HOME opens the first Hub of Hope, a winter walk-in engagement center located in the concourse under Center City to provide social and health services to individuals experiencing long-term homelessness

2013

  • Project HOME announces plans for the Stephen Klein Wellness Center, which will provide comprehensive, integrated healthcare services to a low-income North Philadelphia neighborhood
  • The HOME Spun Resale Boutique opens
  • Project HOME launches a social enterprise program, including resident-crafted HOME Made products

2014

  • JBJ Soul Homes opens, providing 55 units of affordable housing to formerly homeless  and low-income persons, including a pilot program of housing and services for youth