Fighting For Those Still on the Outside
Wes arrived at Fairmount Avenue at 6 AM, ready to help. But he was not ready for what he saw. “I was stunned. The line was already around the block.” He knew it would be a big crowd, but he hadn’t quite imagined this. Wes, a resident at Project HOME’s Francis House of Peace and a Project HOME Trustee, was going to volunteer as part of the opening day for people to submit applications for our newest residence, which would provide 88 units of permanent housing for homeless, formerly homeless, and low-income people.
Some people had started camping out on Fairmount Avenue two evenings before. Many took time off jobs or missed appointments to be there. By the time doors opened to receive applicants, the line was several blocks long, with hundreds of individuals hoping for the chance for a long-desired decent roof over their heads.
It was a snapshot of a part of America that we rarely want to acknowledge—elderly, young, women with children, people in recovery, people with disabilities—all trapped in an economic system that isn’t working, and a housing squeeze that leaves fixed and low-income people in dire straits.
While we develop effective and successful programs, we are committed to addressing the big picture, including the political realities that can either exacerbate the problems or provide critical resources and policies for furthering solutions.
For 30 years, we have advocated—in City Council chambers, in the state building in Harrisburg, and in the halls of Congress. Through petitions and letterwriting campaigns, legislative visits and by testifying before elected officials, through public forums and voter registration, sometimes even through picket lines and protests in the public sphere, we do what we can, joining with others to coax the powers that be to work for justice, equal opportunity, and effective human and social services for all citizens.
The work continues.