The Hub of Hope Ends a Successful Season
Sean Quebedo threw down the Queen of Hearts, punctuating his win over Joy Johnson in a friendly game of cards.
"I'm out!" he declared, reveling in his victory. Johnson, one of the Hub of Hope's housing specialists, smiled broadly as the witty, fast-talking Quebedo played up his good fortune. "A woman's a man's best friend!" he said, presumably referring to his winning Queen. But he could have just as easily been referring to Johnson, whose company he obviously enjoyed. The game itself hardly mattered, really; they had played before, and they would surely play again. Who was keeping track?
The game was merely a pretense for what was really occuring between these two people as they sat at a plastic folding table in an old hair salon situated in an empty corner of the Suburban Station concourse: Understanding.
As Project H.O.M.E. and its partners shutter the Hub of Hope - a winter initiative that provided essential outreach services to the men and women who called the station's concourses home during the winter months - for the season, we can look back over a successful term that saw 360 unique individuals access Hub services. Hub staff handled 292 medical visits, allowing 134 unique people access to essential medical care; staff also placed 95 folks in residential or treatment programs around the city. All of this was accomplished during the work week, with the bulk of the interactions occuring between 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
But perhaps most importantly, folks like Sean Quebedo had a place to call their own, a place where they were welcome. They had a place where they were no longer an anonymous face, but a human being with a medical history, paperwork that needed to be completed, and hopes for the future.
On a typical evening, the doors would open at 7 p.m. and shortly thereafter men and women would start to drift in - some hoping for help applying for identification or to have their blood sugar checked, others hoping for a hot cup of coffee and a comfortable place to sit as they wrung the cold from their bones.
As for Quebedo, a retired Navy veteran who had spent the better part of the last 15 years on the street, the Hub provided a new beginning: in early March, he was excited about his impending housing placement and job prospects. He attributed his improved station to the "professional and positive" Hub staff who showed a remarkable ability to help "different people with different mentalities" get what they needed most - a renewed chance.
A special thanks to our partners:
Catholic Social Services
City of Philadelphia
Jefferson University Physicians
Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Pathways to Housing PA
Public Health Management Corporation
Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia