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Project HOME in the News

 

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

Several hundred people endured a frigid late Thursday afternoon at Dilworth Park in Center City to remember 149 people who died in the last year who were homeless or formerly homeless.

Some held signs with the names of the dead:

Agnes Jefferson.

Jessica Darrah.

Major L. Fife IV.

Robert F. Schork.

 

Next September, Philadelphia will host Pope Francis, who will be visiting as part of the World Meeting of Families. Given the immense global impact Francis has had in his still young papacy, this is a historic opportunity for our city: More than two million visitors are expected, and for several days the eyes of the world will be upon us.

Artist James Webster at last year's Artists for All Seasons art show

If art comes from pain, then James Webster is Michelangelo.

He's suffered from depression, alcoholism, and stroke. He's been arrested for assault, divorced by two women, and beaten with bats by gangs, and he lived homeless in North Philadelphia for a year.

Through it all, he's painted, taken photographs, and created collages, always understanding that making art was an answer to smoothing out an unruly life.

 

Paris fashion week may have just ended, but Philadelphia’s Project HOME showed off its own high style collection Thursday outside of its Homespun Boutique in Fairmount.

“Our model is wearing a beautiful evening gown.”

Who thinks fashion when they think homelessness? That was exactly the point of the fashion show, according to Scarlett McCahill, who runs Project HOME’s social enterprises, which put its residents to work.

 

Project HOME is again doing its part to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness in Philadelphia.

The group’s latest project is bringing new homes and opportunities to the Chinatown neighborhood.

“This project will be a symbol of increasing economic diversity in Center City Philadelphia, which is amazing,” says Sister Mary Scullion, co-founder of Project HOME.

For 25 years, Project HOME has operated with a singular mission in Philadelphia: break the circle of events that lead people into homelessness.

As a result, much of the focus for the nonprofit’s work centers around getting people off the streets and into homes. Project HOME has 550 units of permanent housing in the city as well as “safe haven” transitional housing for those just exiting homelessness. Over the next two years, the nonprofit plans to nearly double its capacity of permanent housing, according to Scarlett McCahill, social enterprise manager at Project HOME.

 

Pope Francis is reportedly heading to Philadelphia in October 2015. While he’s in town, here are a few things he should do.

 

Wash Water Wednesday was scheduled to start at 11, but the homeless started arriving by 8 a.m.

"Feels amazing," the first woman out of the shower, in her new clothes, hair swept up in a fresh towel, told Crystal Brown, the organizer.

"We wash up every day, but it's not the same thing," she said. "Also, it's great to know somebody cares."

Water flowed again - tears.

 

Near 10th and Market Streets, Edward Dunn held up a piece of cardboard on which he had scrawled a plea in the form of a question.

"What if God occasionally visits Earth disguised as a homeless guy panhandling to see how charitable we are?"

A minute later, an answer walked up: Texas-based artist Willie Baronet.

He offered to buy Dunn's sign, but not for the sake of charity or even religion.

For art.

 

Ilza Padua bathes her 500-pound ex-boyfriend in exchange for a shower, or a $10 bill she could use to buy a bag of heroin.

Homeless for years in the madness and squalor of West Kensington, Padua, 46, is weary and nearly toothless, her leathery skin marred with scars from knife attacks and repeated spikings from dope needles.

She carries a clutch of novels with her - Robin Cook is popular among the homeless for some reason - and has survived by staying awake at night and prostituting herself only to men who seem safe. "Doctors and lawyers are OK," she said.

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