26 October 2010

Project H.O.M.E.

Project H.O.M.E (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, Education)
None of us are home until all of us are home.

Since 1988, Project H.O.M.E has been a leader in providing comprehensive and effective services to persons who experience chronic homelessness. The organization empowers people to break the cycle of homelessness, address the structural causes of poverty, and attain their fullest potential as members of society.

Co-founded by Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson-McConnon, Project H.O.M.E is a nationally recognized organization that provides supportive housing, employment, education and health care to enable chronically homeless and low-income persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Under their leadership, Project H.O.M.E. has grown from a winter shelter to 447 units of housing and three businesses that employ formerly homeless individuals.

What makes this organization so effective, is its mission to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, not simply treating the symptoms and its commitment to the dignity of every person.  They strive to create a safe and respectful environment where everyone supports one another in their struggle for self-esteem, recovery, and the confidence to move towards self-actualization. This mission is achieved through a continuum of care comprised of street outreach, a range of supportive housing, and comprehensive services. Project H.O.M.E. addresses the root causes of homelessness, through neighborhood-based affordable housing, economic development, and environmental enhancement programs, as well as providing access to employment opportunities; adult and youth education; and health care.

Project H.O.M.E is committed to social and political advocacy. An integral part of Project H.O.M.E.'s work is education about the realties of homelessness and poverty and vigorous advocacy on behalf of and with homeless and low-income persons for more just and humane public policies. It is also committed to nurturing the spirit of community among persons of walks of life, all of whom have a role to play in making this a more just and compassionate society.

The organization's website provides resources and facts about homelessness, particularly in Philadelphia, where Project H.O.M.E. is based. It is also important to note that Project H.O.M.E.'s board of directors include residents from the housing units, as well as program alumni.

The work of Project H.O.M.E. is rooted in their strong spiritual conviction of the dignity of each person. They believe:
    • that all persons are entitled to decent, affordable housing and access to quality education, employment, and health care.
    • in the transformational power of building relationships and community as the ultimate answer to the degradation of homelessness and poverty.
    • that working to end homelessness and poverty enhances quality of life for everyone in the community.
    • that the critical resources entrusted to Project H.O.M.E. to achieve its mission must be managed honorably and professionally.

Housing & Street Outreach- designed to deal with the complex issues of persons with special needs such as mental illness and addiction. The program consists of street outreach, a range of supportive housing from entry-level to permanent housing, and comprehensive services including health care, education, and employment.
    • Street Outreach: Outreach Teams develop trusting relationships with homeless individuals who have severe mental illness or substance addiction.
    • Women's Emergency Respite Center: serves women with a long history of street homelessness, many of whom are incompatible or resistant to city-run shelter services.
    • Supportive Housing & Services: enables each person to break the cycle of homelessness, move towards self-sufficiency and achieve his or her full potential.
    • Alumni Program: provides residents with the opportunity to stay connected to Project H.O.M.E. community even after moving out of the supportive housing programs.
    • Affordable Rental Housing: an eleven-story building developed to help address the gap in Philadelphia's affordable housing inventory.
    • Affordable Homeownership Program: designed to stimulate housing production in North Philadelphia, create positive community impact and scale, and increase development and transformation of a distressed urban community into an attractive place to live. The program includes Block Preservation and Place Making Initiatives, and  the Homebuyer Reservation Program
Community Development- The organization's revitalization work is focused in the North Central Philadelphia community known as 'St. Elizabeth's/Diamond Street" neighborhood and Ridge Ave commercial corridor, (a 33-square block neighborhood).

Since 1995, Project H.O.M.E. has been working in partnership with neighborhood residents, corporations, foundations, government, faith communities and others to revitalize this neighborhood. Efforts include the development of affordable rental housing, renovation of affordable homes for homeownership, greening of vacant lots, adult and youth education and enrichment programs and community based health care services.
    • Economic Development: the program addresses the persistent challenges of long-term economic disinvestment: "vacancy, blight, and high rates of unemployment."
    • Health Services Program: is committed to addressing the health and wellness needs of the urban community.
    • Community Organizing: works in cooperation with local Block Captains and civic associations on activities such as community emergency food banks, block clean-ups, and the nationally ranked youth drill team, the North Philly Footstompers.
    • Honickman Learning Center & Comcast Technology Lab: programs at this 38,000 square foot, three-story technology center are tailored to help residents of the community- children, youth, adults and families- move towards greater prosperity by increasing their educational and employment opportunities.
Education & Employment- Project H.O.M.E recognizes that education and employment are critical tools to help all people improve the quality of their lives. This is particularly vital for formerly homeless people and people from economically distressed neighborhoods that may not have access to meaningful educational and employment opportunities.
    • Honickman Learning Center & Comcast Technology Lab
      • Kindergarten-Sixth Grade Program
      • Teem Program
      • Adult Education and Workforce Development
    • Employment Services
      • Employment Initiatives
      • Art Program
      • Social Enterprises: Cafe & Thrift Shop
Awards & Honors
(Just to name a few)
    • The National Alliance to End Homelessness' Nonprofit Sector Achievement Award
    • STAR award from The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
    • Named as one of the "16 most efficient and innovative charities [they] know of anywhere," by Philanthropy Roundtable.
Click here for more information on Project H.O.M.E.'s initiatives.

I'd love to hear about any organizations in your city that are addressing the underlying causes of homelessness and poverty in the community.

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