[NEWS] Homeless Death Review Team takes a close look at deaths | Project HOME

[NEWS] Homeless Death Review Team takes a close look at deaths


Via the Philadelphia Daily News

ANDREW SCHULTZ spoke with his brother for the last time 13 years ago.

Phil was in Philly, where he had wandered after leaving his home and job on Long Island. It was a brief conversation, a phone line connecting brothers 150 miles apart.

In the intervening years, on trips down to Philadelphia, Andrew often thought about walking the streets, trying to reconnect with his brother. He never did.

"Once he didn't want to go back with us, or do anything with us, I figured how am I going to force him to come home or to do anything for him?" he said. "I came to realize that this is the life he wanted to lead."

The next time Andrew saw Phil, it was at his funeral Oct. 28, after Phil died homeless in Rittenhouse Square.

In most cities, a death like Phil's would be forgotten. But in Philly, a group of about 50 people from various disciplines pore over reports of every homeless death.

The city's Homeless Death Review Team has been working in near-silence since 2009, and has been a trailblazer for similar programs across the country.