[NEWS] Despite high poverty, why fewer people live on Philly’s streets than in other big cities
Shareda Green sat dumbfounded inside a drab, unmarked office on Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia. More than two hours into her weekday shift at the Project HOME Outreach Coordination Center, the veteran dispatcher hadn’t assigned a single homeless outreach team to talk to a single person about getting off the streets.
“This is the longest I’ve ever seen this phone not ring,” said Green on a recent Monday evening.
The silence didn’t last long. Once 6 p.m. rolled around, calls for help started trickling in.
Green sent one team out to Spring Garden Street after a homeless man called the center looking for shelter for the night. Ten minutes later, a different team was sent to Broad Street after someone called to report two women lying on the steps of a church.
“We’re going to offer them shelter, but if not, maybe a blanket,” said Green, who has also experienced homelessness in the past.
“Once a person is on our radar, we’ll keep circling, hoping one day they’ll say, ‘Yeah.’”