Project HOME, the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, 1/30, to celebrate the opening of the new Hub of Hope in the Center City sub-concourse. The 11,000-square-foot facility is operated by Project HOME and provides a gateway to vital services and care for Philadelphia’s homeless. The Hub of Hope is a first-of-its-kind engagement center for homeless created via a partnership with a social services agency, a transportation authority and a municipality.
“SEPTA is not only in the transportation industry, we are also in the community service business and we are proud of our role as a partner in working to find solutions to the Philadelphia region’s needs,” said SEPTA Chairman Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. “Beyond the human toll of homelessness and poverty, homelessness presents unique challenges for SEPTA and our customers, especially in Center City. That is why SEPTA and our Board are proud to support the Hub of Hope to help those struggling with homelessness.”
Philadelphia Mayor James F. Kenney added, “We know that City government can’t solve homelessness alone. This kind of partnership shows what we can do when we all work together. I hope other businesses will take SEPTA’s lead. They invested their money and leadership in the development of this site, stepping up to be part of a creative solution.”
Since 2012, the Hub of Hope—operating in a 150 square-foot storefront in Suburban Station from January-April—has placed thousands of those experiencing chronic homelessness into shelter, treatment and other housing options. In 2017, 1,462 individuals visited the Hub of Hope more than 11,000 times. The new permanent facility will be open Monday-Friday from 7a-7p and on weekends, year-round, not just during winter’s cold months.
“Project HOME is proud to partner with SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, and many other committed partners to establish a larger, permanent, year-round location for the Hub of Hope,” said Sister Mary Scullion, Project HOME co-founder and Executive Director. “Thanks to the incredible dedication and leadership of this partnership, the new Hub of Hope will offer a safe place where people can enjoy a warm cup of coffee, take a shower and wash laundry, and speak to peers or case managers to begin the process of finding a permanent home. It creates even greater opportunities to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to treatment, medical care and ultimately stable, supportive housing.”
The new Hub of Hope is located in an underground concourse space that was last used 25 years ago by the Philadelphia Police Department Transit Division.
“We knew there was a location that would give Project HOME the room its staff needed to better serve the city’s homeless population,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “We realized it was a huge undertaking to have the facility up and running by the winter. But I knew the team of in-house employees and contractors would meet the challenge. And they did,working around the clock. I am proud of their commitment to meet the demands this job brought.”
Construction on the facility started in mid-August 2017. Staff at the new Hub of Hope will continue to engage, assess and place individuals experiencing homelessness into shelter,treatment or other long-term housing opportunities with supportive services. The center also includes shower and laundry facilities for visitors. While the new Hub of Hope is the result of a partnership with Project HOME, the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA, start-up funding for the facility was made possible through the support of many individuals, organizations and businesses, including: Bank of America; Lynne and Harold Honickman; Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation; Leigh and John Middleton; Aileen and Brian Roberts; Wawa, Inc.; and A. Morris Williams, Jr.
“Wawa is proud to provide support, which includes our coffee to anyone visiting the Hub of Hope all year long,” said Dave Simonetti, Sr. Director of Store Operations for Wawa. “We are committed to partnering with the City and others to support programs that make a difference in the lives of all citizens. We commend Project HOME, the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA for imagining this exceptional space and we are honored to join the partnership that made it a reality.”
“This partnership remains committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness” said Jon Bon Jovi, Chairman of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. “The Hub of Hope is another example of what we like to call the ‘Power of We’”.
“Thank you to all of those who put their faith in this project and believe in the mission of Project HOME. Working together, we will make a difference in the lives of thousands in our region,” said Deon.
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. We strive to create a safe and respectful environment where we support each other in our struggles for self-esteem, recovery, and the confidence to move toward self-actualization.