Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) families, staff and volunteers as well as many representatives from the Family Service Provider’s Network (FSPN) testified on March 13th about the need for a Homelessness Prevention Plan this past Monday at a City Council public hearing. The hearing, sponsored by the Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and Homelessness advocated for funding for a robust homelessness prevention program to relieve Philly’s log-jammed shelter system with long waiting lists.
Andrea Jourden and Nancy House, PIHN alumni, spoke about their struggles to find housing they could afford and how they are doing so much better since PIHN’s shallow rent subsidy and master lease program. As working, low income families, their stay in shelter could have been shortened or avoided all-together had resources been available earlier. Aubrey, Nancy’s 11 year old daughter spoke eloquently about the impact of housing insecurity on her family and her difficulty concentrating in school when the family was struggling prior to entering PIHN’s Master Lease Housing program that offers shallow rent subsidies. PIHN’s Director Rachel Falkove, and other FSPN providers, suggested that City Council:
1) Direct $3,000,000 from the Housing Trust Fund for Homelessness Prevention efforts.
2) Allocate $3,000,000 from the General Fund to strengthen the contract agencies that have been flat-funded for the past 8 years.
3) Allocate $25,000 for trauma informed care training programs.
We are hopeful that these requested changes combined with strengthening the role of public/private/faith-based partnerships will result in helping 750 families avoid the experience of homelessness.
PIHN families of Andrea Jourden , Nancy and Aubrey House (shown behind the podium) & Rachel Falkove at Press Conference before the Hearing.