Project HOME in the News | Project HOME

Project HOME in the News

 

Philanthropists John and Leigh Middleton are recipients of the 2013 Philadelphia Award, the venerable honor established in 1921 by Ladies' Home Journal editor Edward W. Bok.

The Middletons - whose family business, tobacco and cigar maker John Middleton Co., was sold in 2007 for $2.9 billion - have largely directed their philanthropy to education, homelessness, and workforce development projects.

 

"We're trying to reach as many people as possible," says Jennine Miller, policy director at the social service agency, Project HOME.

It's chilly and overcast late Tuesday afternoon when Miller meets up with volunteer Kenyetta Parham and community health worker Loretta Dredden. They're suited up in neon yellow vests with "OUTREACH" stamped on the back. Clipboards in hand, they go door to door for several blocks in one north central Philadelphia neighborhood.

 

Center City Philadelphia was a ghost town on Thursday, Feb. 13. With the area in the middle of the latest snowstorm of a particularly cruel winter, schools were closed, many offices including city offices were closed, public transportation was virtually non-existent, and people were urged to simply stay home.

 

As the region endures potentially life-threatening cold temperatures for those spending long periods of time outdoors, local organizations are ramping up their efforts to make sure Philadelphia’s homeless community stays safe and warm through what meteorologists are calling the coldest temperatures the city has seen in nearly two decades.

Local homelessness and poverty advocacy organization Project HOME operates a 24/7 Homeless Outreach Hotline. Project HOME spokesman Laura Weinbaum says people can call the hotline if they see anyone out on the streets that may need shelter.

 

A transformative $15 million development is slated to impact the health of North Philadelphia residents and revitalize the community.

Officials from Project HOME broke ground last Wednesday on the Stephen Klein Wellness Center located at 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. The 28,598 square foot comprehensive health care facility will offer primary care, behavioral health and dental care services, health education, physical therapy, a pharmacy and a YMCA-managed fitness facility.

 

Promising to restore a North Philadelphia neighborhood known for dilapidated buildings and a lack of medical resources, city and state officials helped break ground Wednesday on a $15 million health-care facility near the Strawberry Mansion area.

The Stephen Klein Wellness Center, named for the developer, is expected to offer primary care, dental, and behavioral health services - as well as 50 job openings - when it opens near 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. More than 100 people jammed inside a heated tent Wednesday for the ceremony.

 

THE CITY'S homeless-outreach organizations have a secret weapon in Sean Rafferty, particularly when it comes to surveying the individual men and women who camp out on Philadelphia's streets, transit concourses and other public spaces.

It's not often, after all, that the workers completing those surveys can swap stories about what it's like to have no place to go home.

"The best way to address the homeless problem is through people who know where they're coming from," said Rafferty, who spent 10 years living on the streets of Philadelphia.

 

Hundreds of volunteers spent the night out in the bitter cold, counting the number of homeless people across Philadelphia.

This survey comes during the coldest month of January in a decade.

And despite the bitter temperatures, Laura Weinbaum, with Project Home, says 300 volunteers took part in the survey, starting late last night and going until after 3 o’clock this morning.

 

James had ridden a bus for 30 hours, traveling to Philadelphia to find his long-lost brother. He’d come to ask for money and a place to stay, but after four days, James had gotten no further than the waiting room of the Greyhound station in Chinatown. Venturing out into the streets during one of this winter’s brutally cold nights, the 62-year-old had slipped and fallen, breaking his shoulder. After treatment in a hospital, he floated back to the bus station, with only a few dollars and his brother’s outdated address in hand, to try to recuperate.

 

Most nights of the year, Philadelphia' s homeless people are unnoticed, hidden beneath the city's surface in underground concourses, living in cars or melting into shadowy corners where no one looks too closely.

But in the frigid early morning hours of Thursday, about 300 volunteers fanned out from Broad Street Ministry to canvass the streets of Philly and count those who are often forgotten.

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