Residents & Alumni Stories | Project HOME

Residents & Alumni Stories

A Christmas Story

This is a Christmas reflection written several years ago by Will O’Brien, a member of the Project HOME community.  As we look to this year’s Christmas celebration, and as we are preparing for this year’s Homeless Memorial Day, it seems worthwhile to share this.

Richard Bogue is a long-time resident of Project HOME.  He lives at 1515 Fairmount Avenue, and frequently shares his poetry and writing with the broader community.


Many years ago when I was living in San Francisco I decided to go to church one Sunday.  I chose the Unitarian church and at the end of the service the minister urged the congregation to “be gentle with your selves.”

Shawn Brown

You can look at Shawn Brown and sense his high energy and strong sense of self.  He exudes a spirit of health.  But it wasn’t always that way.

Shawn moved into Project HOME’s 1515 Fairmount Avenue residence back in 2011, and last year, he made a new home at our Francis House of Peace.  For much of that time, he struggled with his health, often feeling sluggish and down on himself.  His weight was exacerbating an inflamed knee and a bad back.  He also was dealing with diabetes. 

Project HOME Annual PECO/Exelon-sponsored Veterans Gathering

On the beautiful Fall evening before Veteran’s Day, Employment Services hosted our 3rd annual gathering of veterans which included the current graduation class to those who were graduated in 2009, out first class.  It is always a joy to see the graduates so pleased with their accomplishments and the many Alums who return to share this day with them and their fellow classmates.   

We are eagerly looking forward to tomorrow night, when the latest Project HOME art show open.  Our “Artists For All Season” has its grand opening and reception on Wednesday, October 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, at Drexel University’s URBN Center, 3501 Market Street.  This show is a partnership with Drexel University, and will feature drawings, painting, and photos by several Project HOME artists who have been part of our Art Program.

Gerry Roberts, who lived at our Connelly House residence, passed away on July 2. A former deputy sheriff for the City of Philadelphia, he joined the Project HOME community back in 1997, and had a deep impact on all who knew him. His fellow resident Mike Kozisky wrote this reflection about him.

A member of the Project HOME community, John Bowie, was recently featured in Grid Magazine piece detailing a local coalition's efforts to get PECO to buy energy generated by solar panels installed onto North Philadelphia rooftops by local contractors, thus reducing residents' energy bills while at the same time creating jobs for the impoverished neighborhood. 

On Wednesday, May 4, we joined the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation to celebrate the grand opening of Francis House of Peace, which will bring 94 units of affordable housing to the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Joseph Hill-Coles, a young adult resident of the new residence, shared his powerful story at the event.

Joint Hearings on Youth Homelessness: Testimony of Joseph Hill-Coles

On Thursday, April 28, public hearings were held in City Council to discuss the issue of youth homelessness in Philadelphia. Joseph Hill-Coles, a young adult resident at our Francis House of Peace residence, delivered the testimony below at the hearing. 

Good afternoon.  My name is Joseph Hill Coles and I am 22 years old. My story is about who I was and who I am today.


In the Philadelphia neighborhood where Robert (Bob) Ealey grew up, the only men who had fine clothing and money to spend were drug dealers. This was magnetic to a young teenager. Bob dropped out of high school after 11th grade and began substance abuse at age 18.  Even though he was using, he was able to hold down a job at the City of Philadelphia’s Sanitation Department. for six years.  Eventually, though, his addiction lost him his job.


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