25th Anniversary | Project HOME

25th Anniversary

Philadelphia’s Success in Helping the Homeless Gets a Philanthropic Boost

There’s a straight line that goes from David Drap to David Brown, but you cannot find it in most other cities.

Mr. Drap, 43, could be seen recently assembling pieces of plywood around a twin mattress under a highway overpass, trying to build a shelter amid detritus left by a half dozen other homeless people. Mr. Brown, 57, lived on the streets for 25 years until he finally found housing through Project HOME, a local nonprofit organization. He now lives in a building with a computer lab, a library and a fitness room.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, delivered remarks at our recent 25th Anniversary Gala where he discussed the future of philanthropy and the impact of our work in Philadelphia.

2014 Golden Heart Award Recipients | Leigh and John Middleton

Leigh and John Middleton are proud Philadelphians who care deeply about their city – with a special concern for addressing the tough issues that plague our city, including hunger, education, health care, and homelessness. They have demonstrated this concern with an impressive track record of philanthropy and commitment to the whole community.

But most significant has been their work with Project HOME. Leigh and John have been invaluable members of the Project HOME family for eight years. They share Project HOME’s passion and vision for ending homelessness in Philadelphia.

On April 22, over 1,200 members of the Project HOME community gathered to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

David Brown | 25th Anniversary of Project HOME

Tall, dignified, and sharply dressed, David Brown cuts an impressive figure. It’s a far cry from what he looked like just a few years ago.

When Project HOME was just starting out in 1989, David Brown had already logged several years on the streets. In fact, he spent 25 years on the streets – most of them under the awning of the old Youth Study Center, now the site of the Barnes Foundation. A troubled youth with little education or work experience gave him few options, so he toughed it out, along with many others experiencing chronic homelessness.

Tanisha Clanton | 25th Anniversary of Project HOME

Many years ago, Tanisha Clanton might have seemed like one of the countless children in Philadelphia facing a bleak future. Her family life was marked by homelessness, addiction, and instability.

Dionne Stallworth | 25th Anniversary of Project HOME

Dionne Stallworth insists that you can’t fully understand her if you don’t understand her attraction to superheroes. 

Her posters of Batman, Wonder Woman, et al, testify to her belief that “one person has the power to bring about change.” Dionne has been bringing about change for many years – starting with herself. From her battles with mental illness and homelessness, she has found a home at Project HOME’s Connelly House.

On the door to her West Philadelphia apartment, Zarah Teachy has a sign that reads “I’m a Miracle.” Her story would bear that out. Zarah first met Sister Mary Scullion in 1983 while incarcerated, but it would be years before she came to Project HOME to commence her long journey out of homelessness and addiction.

During her time as a Project HOME resident, Zarah received her high school diploma. At that time, she decided she could use her experience to help others.

Hyacinth King | Project HOME 25th Anniversary

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Hyacinth King.  As a young person, she had a solid path ahead of her:  She went from a private elite high school to Temple University, where she studied business, with the probability of someday taking over her parents’ independent grocery store.  She hadn’t planned on the severe mental illness that would disrupt that path, causing her to live first in her car, then later in cardboard boxes on the streets of Center City.

Julia Galetti | Project HOME 25th Anniversary

Julia Galetti is very clear when she describes her life these days:  “I am an empowered woman!”

That spirit of empowerment is hard won.  She has overcome addiction, family trauma, and homelessness, and now resides at 1515 Fairmount Avenue, which has been her home for the past decade.  After twenty-three years clean, she still is diligent in maintaining her recovery – “I never want to go back to being homeless again.”


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