“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

A Homelessness Prevention Strategy that Philly 

Desperately Needs.

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Hundreds of Philadelphia families, even from the priciest neighborhoods of our City, find themselves during the course of any month. Far too often they cannot get the emergency help they need. Philadelphia’s safety net, the shelter system, is stretched well beyond capacity and lacks the resources necessary to respond to current economic and housing realities of City residents, in particular for the Northeast zip codes that Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) and our 20 Northeast area congregations serve. Northeast Philadelphia has the second highest eviction rate in the city. More than 5,700 School District students were homeless last year. Some were in shelter, but others were couch surfing. Each year approximately 14,000 Philadelphians utilize a homeless shelter.

Homelessness occurs for a myriad of reasons and comes with many costs. Shelter beds are very expensive – approximately $15,000 per individual and $45,000 for a three person household per year! The choice not to build additional shelter beds to meet the true need comes with hidden social costs that show up in unnecessary placements in the child welfare system, increased health crises, lost employment, delays in educational progress for children, prolonged domestic violence, increased trauma and resulting behavioral health problems. Vacant housing brings down our neighborhoods.

Rather than let families and children fall behind, how can Philadelphia provide necessary resources and services sooner to prevent the downward spiral of homelessness? A promising solution lies in a cost-effective “homelessness prevention” strategy, managed by public-private partnerships that includes community, faith-based, local government, and corporate collaboration and support.

On March 13th and March 20th Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, Family Service Provider Network, the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Health Providers, Legal Aid groups and others testified in public hearings on the Homelessness Prevention and Philadelphia’s Eviction Crisis to ask our City Council to support investment in community-based prevention strategies that would help 1,000 households to avoid the emergency shelter system. Utilizing the Housing Trust Fund for homelessness prevention monies would be money well-spent. 3 million dollars would provide landlord mediation, legal assistance, financial coaching, benefits advocacy, employment and training, “master leasing”, and short-term financial assistance. These interventions have been tried in other cities and have proven 98% successful in preventing homelessness and displacement. While there will still be some families who need higher levels of service, most low income working families can avoid homelessness with targeted interventions.

Prevention intervention costs range from $500 per household to $6,000 per household in one year of service, compared to the high costs of providing shelter or the societal costs of doing nothing, PIHN believes that our City leadership should work to develop a community based homelessness prevention plan utilizing funds from the City Housing Trust Fund. By investing in a proven intervention, homeless Philadelphians won’t have to rely solely on the shelter system. A great city like Philadelphia can, and should, do better for its vulnerable citizens.

2017 Empty Plate Dinner Slideshow!

Check out some of these awesome shots taken at the 4th Annual EPD.

We had a WONDERFUL time with our neighbors this year!

Photo Creds to our German Volunteer: “Felizitas Bitzenhofer”

A Shoutout to PIHN’s Project Partners!

Here’s a shout out to PIHN’s project partners, Sisters of Salaam Shalom for an article this past Thursday in the Philadelphia Inquirer and to Tom Costello of The Joy of Sox in last week’s People Magazine human interest feature!   Both articles mention PIHN and the ways PIHN families are strengthened by their work.   It totally takes a village, and our project partners really do go the extra mile.  We’re honored to be working with them!

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Check Out Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom’s PEACE MEALS Article Here

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Check Out Tom Costello’s Article in People Magazine Here

Houses For Change

Many thanks to Unitarian Society of Germantown for hosting the annual neighborhood Martin Luther King Day of Service, bringing together hundreds of local volunteers!  The day reaped many benefits for PIHN- a cleaner and more organized family center, a start on bowls for next year’s Empty Bowl Dinner, lots of Houses for Change and some much needed shelving in our office!

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Seen here- Debby Stern, PIHN Coordinator at Germantown Jewish Centre and granddaughters, Hanna and Gabriella, making their Houses for Change to collect spare coins to help bring about positive change for PIHN families

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Raymour & Flanigan “Wheels to Work” 2016 Fundraiser

In the past month, PIHN has come together with Raymour & Flanigan to raise funds for  SEPTA passes to distribute to our neighbors who need transportation to get to job interviews, new jobs or take care of other responsinilities. Thanks to all of you, our “Wheels to Work” fundraiser was a wonderful success! Thanks to the generosity Raymour & Flanigan with an extra check from SEPTA, PIHN will be able to 571 bus tokens for PIHN and community families in need of transportation assistance.

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Our Empty Bowl Challenge – From your Wharton Team

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Together, we can fill an empty bowl.
Many of us have spare change lying around the house.
So, I, Christopher Rathbun, pledge to complete the Empty Bowl Challenge by taking and posting a picture with an empty bowl, filling that bowl with spare change, and contributing that amount or more to help a family experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia and around the world.

I nominate all of my neighbors and family to complete the Empty Bowl Challenge! You have 48 hours to pass this along to 3 of your friends! (You don’t have to be nominated, take the challenge yourself!) Every year, the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) hosts an event called the Empty Bowl Dinner that raises awareness about family hunger and homelessness. Every guest leaves with an empty hand-made bowl as a reminder that every night hundreds of families go hungry in the City of Philadelphia.

Learn more and donate at http://philashelter.org/index.php/how-to help/donate/. Every donation helps a family experiencing homelessness.#emptybowlchallenge #PIHN

Also, if you have any stories about attending an Empty Bowl Dinner, volunteering with families experiencing homelessness, and want to share something about your experience or want to share something about how you use your Empty Bowl, feel free to write something additional!

 

New Beginnings in Our Northeast Network!

NE_PhillyLogo (1)We are excited to announce that PIHN has moved its Northeast Daycenter and office to the second floor of 6730 Torresdale Avenue, 19135. While we are sad to say goodbye to our former neighbors at the OCCCDA, this new location provides easy accessibility, and its location above Councilman Bobby Henon’s office makes PIHN a convenient resource for community members. The new day center includes new amenities, such as a full kitchen and washer/dryer for our current and alumni guest families to utilize.

PIHN realizes, along with other agencies providing social services in Northeast Philadelphia,  that we could more effectively serve the community through collaboration and coordination. Therefore, Councilman Henon has entrusted Emma Wagner, who previously served as a PIHN intern, with formally organizing the Northeast Service Team (NEST). NEST is a collaboration of organizations that work together in order to ensure that vulnerable residents of Northeast Philadelphia will have access to all of the services and resources they need to thrive.

NEST’s vision is that every individual and family in Northeast Philadelphia will live abundant lives, free of hunger, homelessness, and poverty. NEST is comprised of many great agencies, including Catholic Community Services, CityReach, Feast of Justice, Friends Hospital, The Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank, Holy Family University Family Center, Kingdom Life Christian Center, The Philadelphia Furniture Bank, PIHN, Star of Hope Baptist Church, and Turning Points For Children.

A New Home for the NPIHN Blog

The NPIHN Blog (formerly www.philashelter.wordpress.com) has moved!

With the launch of our new website comes a brand new blog where you can find up-to-date news and events information about NPIHN.

We hope you will visit this page often to see all that is going on at NPIHN.