Families Count – Shining a Light on Family Homelessness

Families Count!

Let’s Make Sure that ALL
Experiencing Homelessness are Counted

2019-01-23-e-lee-bruce-thomas-philadelphia-city-hall-homeless-families-under-count-768x512(PIHN Executive Director, Rachel Falkove & PIHN Family, Bruce Thomas)

Last Wednesday night, an army of volunteers fanned out across the greater Philadelphia area to count the number of people sleeping on the street combined with those sleeping in shelter. The Annual Point-in Time Count (PIT) is required by the Department of housing and Urban Development to measure how municipalities across the country are doing in the national goal to eliminate homelessness and determine funding for services needed for the year ahead.

Family advocates note that the PIT frequently overlooks families, who are a hidden part of the homeless population. If families cannot find room in a shelter or don not want to be divided up, they will hide their homelessness, staying in cars, hotels, substandard properties, sleeping on couches, and living doubled up in other crowded, tense, living situations. They will rarely stay on the street because if they do, they may lose their children to the child welfare system.

fspn press conference on count-2019-01-23 (22)(FSPN coalition appeals to City Officials)

PIHN, along with a coalition of 20+ agencies of the Family Service Provider Network (FSPN), participated in a “Families Count – Uncovering Family Homelessness” Press Conference hosted by City Council members Domb and Gym, and joined by Council members Blackwell and Greenlee. This conference was held to reauest city departments to commit to collecting more accurate data to represent themany hidden families and children who interface with their departments, but are not in shelter or visible for the PIT Count.

PIHN alumni, Bruce Thomas, spoke on behalf of the many uncounted families and told of his family’s 10+ year-long journey living with families and friends, without services, supports or a housing plan. Only upon making the decision to come into shelter did things finally begin to come into place for them. After a year in our congregational shelter, Bruce’s family moved into PIHN’s Church Lane House that was so beautifully renovated last sumer thanks to many generous supporters. He, Jen, and the children recently received PHA housing and we are making plans to move in another family in to the house shortly. We would all like to thank Bruce for sharing his family’s story with City Council members and the press.

It’s the people that you don’t see, who need help also.
They didn’t know about me and my family for 10 years.” – Bruce Thomas
conference_blast3(Left to right: Joe Willard of People’s Emergency Center, Councilman Allan Domb, & Daniel Ferrell of HelpUSA)
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Click the links below to find coverage of the Press Conference By:


KYW News Radio

Generocity

WHYY


 

 


Erica’s New Car

Ericuh(Erica Meets her New Toyota)

We would like to give a well-deserved CONGRATULATIONS to PIHN Alumni, Erica Bush, on winning the shiny, red 2015 Toyota donated by Geico and Service King through the National Auto Body Association’s Recycled Rides Program! Erica was awarded her new car at our 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner held at United Lutheran Seminary after submitting a carefully written essay describing her experiences defeating homelessness, and explaining the numerous ways a new set of wheels would benefit her with general transit and her commute to a new position as an RN. Erica had this to say:

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“Dear Friends from Geico, Service King, Recycled Rides and the National Auto Body Association,

My daughter and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and generosity. I cannot find the right words to truly tell you how grateful I am to be the recipient of this reliable, shiny, great car!

Your selfless acts of kindness have been shown in every way. This car was prepped by people with huge hearts willing to help someone. I thank you for all of your time, thoughtfulness, and expertise. You have helped me in a tremendous way.

As a person who has experienced homelessness twice (many life struggles) to becoming a recent college graduate with a living wage job offer—I want to let you know that this car will get me to that job, bring stability and make a huge difference in my life.

And of course, to my friends at Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network and the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance:  You are all beautiful people. Thank you so very much for accompanying me on my 10- year journey to stability.  It sometimes takes a village and this village has clearly been there for me!!!

With Love,
Erica Bush”

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Erica’s story is what PIHN strives to narrate with all the work we do. We could not be more proud of Erica for overcoming her fight with homelessness and would like to thank Recycled Rides, as well as Geico this year, for delivering refurbished cars to alumni from our program over the years.  Best of luck to you with your new position Erica!

We’ve Had a BOWL of a Time!

Celebrating Two Decades of Empty Bowl!

Thank You for ALL the Support You’ve Given

EBD Image

(PIHN’s 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner)

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s 20th Annual Empty Bowl Dinner ushered in this Season of Thanks for PIHN’s community of families, volunteers and supporters.. One attendee described the experience as “like being in a roomful of love.” The dinner was a feast for our eyes and bellies-with soups and desserts donated by 65 local restaurants and community groups, dished out in beautiful bowls donated from over 25 different pottery programs and clay artists.   Even the beautiful floral center pieces were donated by two local garden clubs

Congratulations to PIHN alum, Erica Bush, on winning the shiny, red 2015 Toyota donated by Geico and Service King through the National Auto Body Association’s Recycled Rides Program!

Many thanks to our host United Lutheran Seminary, and for all the tremendous assistance we have received from our Corporate Sponsors, Advertisers, Restaurant Donors, Bread & Cake makers, Home Bakers, Soup Schleppers and our 100+ volunteers! Kudos to our Empty Bowl Committee headed by our Queen of Soups, Cynthia LaLone, and assisted by LaVerne M. Jones and Shirlyn Swann. Shout outs to PIHN staff: Bob Byrne, Christian Gordon Scott, Emmanuel Philor, Deb Kish Silver, Keyonnee Thalia, who worked hard to promote the dinner and keep all running smoothly.

Arcadia EBD
(Arcadia University’s 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner)

Additionally, a BIG thanks to Arcadia University for hosting their own 25th annual Empty Bowl Dinner in support of PIHN 2 nights before our dinner on November 14th. It was a great week of pottery, fellowship and soup! Both events together, raised nearly $40,000 in support of PIHN’s work to prevent and alleviate family homelessness.

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Check out the photos from the evening above and on our Facebook Page,
and we so look forward to seeing you next year!

There is TRULY No Place Like Home!


(PIHN’s Ozzy 5k Runners)

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all who participated in our first annual “There’s No NPlace Like Home” 5k! It was so rewarding to see all of the Oz costumes in support of PIHN’s Homelessness Prevention Program. Since beginning our goal to raise $10,000, we are very pleased to announce that it has been far surpassed. This year, PIHN has raised a total $14,733 in funds to prevent homelessness in Philadelphia, and we could not have done it without you! Your steps have made milestones, and we couldn’t be more grateful for our AMAZING community!

Check out our Photo Album [HERE] and on our Facebook!

PIHN’s Flea Market Returns

 

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Back to School time can be very stressful for low income, hard-working families because of the need to make many purchases outside of their budget in order to ready their children for a new school year. PIHN Alumni decided to take matters ito their own hands by organizing a series of flea markets with all proceeds going toward purchasing uniform vouchers! We welcome the help of our community by donating household items, clothes, children’s toys and also by volunteering. Please contact keyonnee at (215) 450-0171 or keyonnee@philashelter.org, and feel free to drop by and shop too! Thank you so much for ALL that you do!

Future Dates To Be Announced.

College Guidance Added to Our Resources!

Education 101:

College Guidance Added to Our Resources!

collegestock

We are always trying to update our resources tab for members of PIHN community to use depending on any given situation. In addition to tips about Wellness, Single-Parenting, and Youth Programs we have added a new set of sources that a specifically catered to picking the right type of higher educati0n and how to pay for it! Check out these resources as well as others that we continually make updates to by clicking the link below. If you have any resources, or programs to share with us, we will be more than happy to relay that info to the families that we serve!

Click to Visit Our Resources.

Spotlighting Aubree House – PIHN’s Young Poet

One of PIHN’s very own, Aubree House, recently wrote a poem that was selected for presentation at the All City Oratorical Contest in celebration of Black History Month. In addition to grabbing a star role in her school play “Hairspray!”, Aubree is really putting her best foot forward and making us very proud! Read Aubree’s poem “Take a Knee” below.

Can we Take a Knee?

Can we take a knee and stand up for our rights?

Can we take a knee and stop all the fights?

Can we take a knee and realize black lives do matter?

Can we take a knee and save lives from being shattered?

Can we take a knee and realize for a second

Every single day some lives are being threatened?

Can we take a knee and stand up against police brutality?

I can’t believe our world has come to this very harsh reality.

Can we take a knee and stop all the hate?

Can we take a knee and begin to retaliate?

Can we take a knee and stand up for what we believe?

Can we take a knee and see what we all can achieve?

Can we take a knee and speak up when something’s wrong?

Not by yourself, but together … we are strong!

Can we take a knee and treat others with respect?

If you don’t … then think of all the people you might affect.

I’m saying this to you today, to tell you something true.

All the violence in the world … isn’t something new.

Can we take a knee and make this world adjust?

Can we take a knee, not just by myself, but with all of us?

Can we take a knee?

Aubreewritten by Aubree House.

PIHN’s Award of Recognition

An Honor of Recognition

Receiving FUMCOG’s Social Justice Award

FUMKOG

Last week, Executive Director Rachel Falkove received the annual Social and Racial Justice award given by The First United Methodist Church in Germantown (FUMCOG) this past MLK day weekend. Also recognized for maintaining one of the most respected agencies in the city, this award is granted as an honor to those who cross racial or ethnic lines making significant contributions toward the resolution of issues regarding social and racial injustice. 

PIHN on the Hill – Thanks for a GREAT Holiday!

Holiday Shopping with a Purpose

Wrapping up PIHN On the Hill Day

Chanukah “Carolers” on the Ave

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s community and supporters kept Chestnut Hill’s charming village shops filled with shoppers in support of PIHN On the Hill Day held December 10th this year! Proceeds went to the PIHN Children’s Fund, supplying school supplies, uniforms, winter wear, scholarships, learning programs, extracurricular activities and camperships for the children we support. Special thanks to our participating Chestnut Hill businesses – Artisans on the Avenue, Bohemian Pink, Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop, Chill on the Hill, Evergreen Cheese Shop, J. Mclaughlin, Iron Hill Brewery, Mango, Quelque Chose, Tavern on the Hill, Ten Thousand Villages, Threadwell, and Windfall Gallery for playing a huge role in spreading the spirit of holiday generosity in support of PIHN children! 

USG Shoppers

USG Shoppers