Project HOME

Organizational mission statement (50 words or less):

 

The mission of the Project HOME community is to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society.

Brief description of organization (include key programs and recent achievements, 100 words or less):

 

Project HOME achieves its mission through a continuum of services comprised of street outreach, a range of supportive housing, and comprehensive services. We address the root causes of homelessness through neighborhood-based affordable housing, economic development, and environmental enhancement programs, as well as through providing access to employment opportunities; adult and youth education; and health care.

Population served (25 words or less):

 

Project HOME primarily serves two populations: (1) individuals with histories of mental illness and/or substance use disorder who have experienced homelessness in Philadelphia, and (2) low socioeconomic and at-risk residents in Lower North Philadelphia, one of the poorest neighborhoods in our city.

Geographic area(s) served:

 

Philadelphia, PA

 

In which Life Science Cares Area of Focus is your organization’s work primarily?

Basic Human Survival

 

Does the organization already receive support from or otherwise engage life science companies? If so, how?

 

Not currently.

ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

 

Please outline existing volunteer opportunities or programs & initiatives that harness human capital including any current virtual volunteer events:

One of the ways your employees can help many of our folks who are at extreme risk right now, is through our Grocery LifeLine program. We are collaborating with Roonga to ensure our vulnerable residents have the essentials without needing to go to the supermarket.

 

Signing up to become a Grocery LifeLine only takes four simple steps:

•Step 1: Select a resident’s profile at https://www.roonga.com/projecthomegrocerylifeline. You will receive a confirmation email with all key details;

•Step 2: Purchase (or order for delivery) items from the resident’s personalized grocery list;

•Step 3: If purchasing and delivering, please clearly label all bags with the resident’s first name and last initial. We ask that you wipe down all items for safety precautions; and,

•Step 4: Deliver (or direct delivery of) the groceries to the Project HOME resident within 48 hours of your sign up, between 10 AM and 4 PM. Please do not enter the building, but merely ring the front bell and wait for someone to come to the door. You, or the delivery person, can then leave the groceries there and a community member will deliver the groceries to the resident’s apartment.

 

Social Enterprises at Project HOME are small businesses designed to employ residents in a supportive, skill-building environment. Each business provides residents with an opportunity to build self-esteem through an encouraging community while providing income and job experience. Our newest social enterprise venture, an online bookstore called Project HOME Books, is up and running again after COVID-19 forced it to pause. We have already sold thousands of books, providing jobs for some of our residents.

 

But we need more books! More information on how you could run a Project HOME Books drive for us is attached. Afterwards, please deliver what you collect, Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to:

 

HOME Spun Boutique

1523 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19130

 

 

Like everyone, the Project HOME community has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. Residents with underlying medical conditions have been sheltering in place since March, dedicated frontline staff have been working long, exhausting hours throughout the crisis, and our entire team continues to work hard to ensure our entire community’s health, wellness, and safety. Now is a chance to stand with them and show your solidarity by writing a “Note of Hope” to someone in the Project HOME community.

 

We invite you to download the attached PDF and follow the instructions on how to send a positive word to a Project HOME community member who could use a bit of good news in the mail. It can be directed to a specific residence if you wish. Thank you so much for sharing a note of hope!

 

After you have written your encouraging words (or expressed yourself in original artwork), please mail your Note of Hope to:

 

John Owens

Project HOME

1515 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19130

 

Volunteers can also participate in collecting items for our holiday drive. Items that we are in great need of around the wintertime are:

  • New hats and warm socks

  • Coats, gloves, and scarves

  • New blankets, pillows, sheets, and towels

  • Toys for children (ages: infants-12)

We also maintain an update an Amazon Wishlist of priority supplies: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/Y37WQ9HKPHDK

Please outline proposed or potential future volunteer opportunities or programs & initiatives that harness human capital including any planned virtual volunteer events: 

Street cleanups are held 3 times per year (the next one will be scheduled in the Spring); Point-in-Time (PIT) count opportunities 4 times per year (a PIT count is a literal counting of people that are living on the streets on a specific day - required annually but we conduct them throughout the year); individual opportunities to volunteer at the Hub of Hope, a homelessness engagement center in Center City, Philadelphia.

GRANT REQUEST

Please signify the type of support you are requesting from Life Science Cares:

Programming (existing)

Project Title:

 

Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness at St. Elizabeth’s Recovery Residence

 

Total Project Budget (if applicable):

$607,212

 

Requested Amount [note that first year partners will generally be awarded $10k]:

 

$10,000

 

In which Life Science Cares Area of Focus is the requested project’s work?

 

Basic Human Survival

 

Description of Need (What is the issue you plan to address? What are the demographics and number of people you plan to serve, if applicable?):

For decades, homelessness has been an intractable social problem. Philadelphia, however, has the lowest numbers of persons experiencing street homelessness, despite having the highest poverty rate (25.7%) by far among the 10 largest U.S. cities. The City’s January 2019 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count indicated 5,735 homeless individuals on a single night, including 973 unsheltered persons. Around 10,000 people access emergency shelter each year, with an unknown number turned away due to lack of capacity.

 

A lot of our work focuses on Lower North Philadelphia, specifically the 19121 ZIP code (the second poorest ZIP code in Philadelphia). Lower North Philadelphia was once a thriving community, but long-term poverty and population decline transformed the area into a distressed neighborhood, marked by failing schools, homelessness, addiction, and a variety of stressors on families who remain in the community today. Since 1993, Project HOME has worked in partnership with neighborhood residents, schools and other stakeholders to revitalize the community, which has one of the highest illiteracy, dropout, violence, and poverty rates in the city.

 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 20 to 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States have some form of serious mental illness, and mental illness is the second largest cause of homelessness for single adults. For this reason, Project HOME’s primary focus is housing for persons who have been homeless and who have histories of mental illness, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders. In Philadelphia, the numbers are much higher (60% of the PIT-counted persons) and persons who are homeless with mental illness and/or substance use are particularly vulnerable within the homeless population.

 

A core conviction of our work has been that “working to end homelessness and poverty enhances the quality of life for everyone in our community” (Project HOME’s Mission Statement). We recognize the frustrations of businesses, the tourism sector, and neighborhoods that the presence of numerous persons on the streets can have a negative impact on the economic health and viability of the city – while public resources are drained in responding to street homelessness. At the same time, our community is missing out on the unleashed potential of persons who are diminished and marginalized by street homelessness. The lives we are losing to homelessness are persons who could be contributing citizens. It is in everyone’s interest – the business community, local government, and all Philadelphians -- to end street homelessness. Addressing this problem will not only save lives and save money, it will engender greater compassion and human connection.

 

Our end goal is to strive to end and prevent chronic street homelessness. In order to do this, we will create housing opportunities; collaborate with providers, funders, government, and consumers; enhance the use of data and analytics; foster a sense of hope; and engage the broader community in co-creating a shared vision and framework for action.

 

Some activities towards this goal include developing new residences and housing subsidies; improving entry-level residential facilities, and create streamlined access; training and improving street Outreach workers’ ability to coach people onto a good long-term path; addressing addiction-related encampments with sensitivity and evidence-based practice; pairing housing with healthcare, including medication assisted treatment; increasing participants’ incomes (both benefit and earned); developing strong alliances with housing providers, city government, police, health care providers, and business improvement district(s); creating an ethos, atmosphere, and practice that build hope and community.

 

Permanent supportive housing paired with employment, education, healthcare, and community are nationally accepted evidence-backed best practices. This goal is within our reach because Philadelphia already has the lowest street count of the ten largest cities in the US despite also having the highest poverty rate.

 

Our efforts draw on Project HOME’s thirty-year track record of housing, services, hope, and community; existing strong long-term public/private partnerships; and new ones we hope to build with organizations like yours. Our approach will inspire transformational change and build community – the power of we.

 

Over the next 3-5 years, Project HOME will continue to create new affordable housing units through rental assistance and housing development to meet the needs of individuals currently experiencing chronic street homelessness. Project HOME has developed 936 units of affordable and supportive housing for persons who have experienced homelessness and low-income persons at-risk of homelessness in Philadelphia; there are an additional 40 units under construction and 112 units in the pipeline. A video showcase of our sites can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4HJ9l8rkNs

 

 

Specific Activities (Please detail what activities you intend to undertake as a result of the grant. Include information about service delivery and timelines.):

The HOME in Project HOME is an acronym that describes the services we provide:

  • H for Housing (Project HOME has developed nearly 1,000 units of long term supportive housing; we also provide transportation supports and financial literacy education);

  • O for Opportunities for employment (We coach adults to secure and retain competitive jobs, provide supported jobs in Social Enterprises, offer trauma-informed apprenticeship programs, employment coaching, and jobs for teens and college students, providing social capital and employment pathways);

  • M for Medical Care (Project HOME operates a Federally Qualified Health Center, offering prenatal through geriatric medical, dental and behavioral health care); and

  • E for Education (We provide Adult Education, After School and summer camp for children, and college access programs and cohort supports for teens, young adults and adults. We also provide vocational training leading to certifications and jobs, again providing social capital and post-secondary opportunities).

 

This request focuses on the “H.” Project HOME provides a wide range of programs and services through its mission to end and prevent homelessness in Philadelphia. Project HOME offers specialized housing and programming for specific higher-risk subpopulations. The St. Elizabeth's Recovery Residence provides housing and services to male military veterans; Rowan Homes offers multi-bedroom apartments for families affected by homelessness, as well as family-oriented recovery services such as parenting skills workshops and grief and loss counseling, among others; and the Young Adult Program at several residences including Gloria Casarez Residence serves persons ages 18-24 who have experienced homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness (such as those aging out of foster care), providing a focus on education and employment, and a range of life skills education.

 

A grant from Life Science Cares will go directly to providing non-medical supportive services to individuals and families at St. Elizabeth’s Recovery Residence throughout the fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). In general, on- and off-site flexible services include case management, addictions counseling, peer support groups, health care and health education, employment services and opportunities, and adult learning offerings. Project HOME case managers meet with residents to assess and track housing and other comprehensive service needs, establish goals, and develop a recovery plan with a focus on mental health, drug/alcohol recovery, health care, education, employment, housing, basic living skills (e.g. budgeting, cooking), and other resident identified domains. Our outreach efforts have also increased access to healthcare, including behavioral health and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

 

The intensity and type of services will vary, depending on what each person needs to attain greater independence and stability. Recovery plans are formulated, reviewed, and updated at least semi-annually; case management meetings take place biweekly at minimum; and Employment Services Program staff are on-site at least twice per month to work with interested individuals. Most importantly, we are able to safely deliver these wraparound services in the times of COVID-19 at their homes.

 

Our work is aimed at empowering individuals to move toward greater independence. For more information on how we reach out to those who are homeless and how our supportive wraparound services help them once they become a resident, please view this video: https://youtu.be/gZkZ22BKcco

 

 

Evaluation (What are the anticipated results? What methods will you use to measure your progress? What does success look like?):

As our main goal is to house those experiencing homelessness, to determine if we are successful or not, we look at the number of residents we are able to house and aim for a 90% or higher rate of residents who are able to maintain their permanent housing for at least 12 months. To evaluate our programs, Project HOME utilizes Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) software, widely viewed as the leading performance management solution for human service agencies. ETO allows us to track individual successes and alerts us to opportunities to improve programming. We also see resident satisfaction surveys, additional PIT counts and participation in resident leadership as touchpoints.  We primarily use our internal Strategic Plan and the HUD Annual Performance Reports (APRs) as the main tools for internal performance management and evaluation. Our Strategic Plan Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are adjusted annually and reviewed in detail on a quarterly basis by our Executive Team. From the Executive Team, any operational challenges impeding progress in achieving indicators are resolved by our Senior Management team. Additionally, our APRs are submitted to HUD on an annual basis and are reviewed on a consistent basis internally for data quality and are used as a performance assessment.

 

 

Does this project already have support from life science companies? If so, what is the nature of that support? Project HOME understands that the work to end homelessness necessitates broad-based commitment from a range of stakeholders. As such, Project HOME has always worked in partnership with residents, neighbors, community leaders, local businesses, and faith communities, as well as corporate and private sponsors to provide the necessary programming and opportunities that empower individuals and families to break permanently the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Collaborations occur in all aspects of Project HOME programming, for example working with the City of Philadelphia for street outreach, and partnering with the City and SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) for the newly expanded Hub of Hope street homelessness engagement center. Our programs are uniquely successful and sustainable not only because of these consensus-building efforts but also because of the strategic ways in which we partner with other housing and community service providers in order to maximize service provision to our constituents. We do not currently have support from life science companies, and look forward to a potential partnership with you.

 

 

EFFECTIVENESS, COLLABORATION, INNOVATION

Is there any other information not captured elsewhere regarding your organization, project, program or initiatives that you believe will help the Life Science Cares team in evaluating your request?

The work of Project HOME is rooted in our strong spiritual conviction of the dignity of each person. We believe that all persons are entitled to decent, affordable housing and access to quality education, employment, and health care. To date, Project HOME has helped more than 15,000 people break the cycle of homelessness and poverty through a variety of programs, including empowering those we serve to build their assets and make the most of their financial resources. The organization was born in 1989 as a temporary emergency shelter for homeless men. Concerned by the dearth of services available to chronically homeless individuals in Philadelphia, Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon co-founded Project HOME to respond to the unmet needs of people living on the streets. It was developed with input from the very people it was meant to help—individuals who had lived on the streets for the longest—and to this day includes persons who have experienced homelessness on the Board of Trustees and on committees.

 

Project HOME’s success is due to effective community engagement - from relationships with local policy makers, to block captain relationships, to resident involvement at every level of our leadership. Project HOME residents and alumni serve on our Board of Directors, are active in prototype groups to pilot new ways to achieve our mission, and give us real-time feedback and leadership through Resident Advisory Board meetings. A group of residents also comprise the Speakers Bureau, a group that speaks during visits from elected officials and travels to visit organizations and schools interested in engaging with what we do.  This group helps to inform the agenda for our Advocacy Committee, and joins staff to host site visits and attend conferences on homelessness.  Our programs are also improved by those we serve. For example, we strengthened our recovery environment after feedback gave us an understanding of what recovery means at each site, how recovery is supported at Project HOME, and how we can better engage residents and staff to improve recovery outcomes.

 

Project HOME received six consecutive 4-star ratings by Charity Navigator, which indicates that we exceed industry standards in various categories, including financial. Only 7 percent of the charities the service rates have received at least four consecutive 4-star evaluations. Project HOME has received many awards over its almost 30 years and is considered a model organization both in organizational capacity and service delivery. Project HOME has been recognized as a national model to end homelessness by both CBS National News and The New York Times.

 

 

How does your organization or program differentiate from other organizations doing similar work? Are you executing or proposing to executive an innovation in program or service?

Project HOME’s supportive housing programs serve over 1,000 vulnerable Philadelphians annually. Our services target those who are experiencing homelessness, have experienced homelessness, or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Though we have a presence throughout Philadelphia, our focus on North Philadelphia is meant to target those most at-risk and assist them with their journey out of poverty. Based on our current resident demographics, 67 percent of Project HOME residents are Black or African American, 24 percent White, 6 percent Asian, and 3 percent other or uncertain. 6 percent are Hispanic/Latino. Veterans make up 6 percent our residents.

 

Housing is just the first step toward combating homelessness. Our skilled program staff collaborate with residents to create goals toward self-sufficiency while providing a recovery community. Staff utilize Critical Time Intervention (CTI), which is an effective case management delivery model that supports the transition from street living or entry-level housing to permanent supportive housing. Long-term recovery residences include private rooms, communal areas, group meals, 24-hour staffing, and case management. Staff provide specialized programs to meet the needs of residents with mental health and/or addictions issues. Residents also have access to employment training, education workshops, and opportunities to participate in Social Enterprise business ventures, helping them to make the transition to permanent housing and greater self-sufficiency.

 

Project HOME’s recovery housing helps formerly homeless veterans and low-income Philadelphians access the resources needed to retain their housing and move toward long-term recovery. One such resident, a U.S. veteran named Eddie, overcame extreme adversity at Project HOME’s St. Elizabeth’s Recovery Residence. Eddie was referred to St. Elizabeth’s from the Veterans Administration (VA) while experiencing street homelessness and coping with a twenty-year cocaine addiction. After completing an inpatient withdrawal management program at the VA, Eddie moved into St. Elizabeth’s, met with a case manager to set goals, and lived in community with other residents. With support from his Project HOME case manager, Eddie graduated to an outpatient recovery program at the VA and begin looking the next steps in his recovery.  Within a few months of arriving at Project HOME, Eddie began exploring employment opportunities as his primary activity and received one-on-one assistance from our Employment Services team. He eventually gained full-time employment as a street maintenance worker for the City of Philadelphia. With his new income and stable health, Eddie recently moved into independent, market-rate housing and continues his recovery journey in the Philadelphia community.

 

With your support, Project HOME can continue to provide whole-person care to lift the formerly homeless out of poverty as we expand to meet the growing need for supportive housing in Philadelphia. You can see another snapshot of the impact we’ve had on our neighbors in the 19121 ZIP code in Philadelphia here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5azO11ETfI

 

Project HOME envisions a society where everyone has a place to call home and is given the opportunity and resources to flourish and achieve their fullest potential. Our vision is that “None of us are home until all of us are home.”  The solution to ending homelessness lies within all of us. We dare to believe that the people who live on our streets and in our poorest neighborhoods deserve the best and brightest futures and that they have gifts to contribute to a healthy and thriving community. Working to end homelessness and poverty is ultimately seeking to heal ourselves and our society as a whole.