Project HOME in the News | Project HOME

Project HOME in the News

 

If Philadelphia can claim a steady parade of philanthropic captains in the last two centuries - from Benjamin Franklin to Walter and Leonore Annenberg - it is also true that the continued supply of such leadership lately has been somewhat in doubt. In terms of really big givers, after Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest - who have donated more than $1 billion of their fortune in the last decade and a half and promise to disburse the rest - who will come next?

Philadelphia’s Success in Helping the Homeless Gets a Philanthropic Boost

There’s a straight line that goes from David Drap to David Brown, but you cannot find it in most other cities.

Mr. Drap, 43, could be seen recently assembling pieces of plywood around a twin mattress under a highway overpass, trying to build a shelter amid detritus left by a half dozen other homeless people. Mr. Brown, 57, lived on the streets for 25 years until he finally found housing through Project HOME, a local nonprofit organization. He now lives in a building with a computer lab, a library and a fitness room.

 

Jon Bon Jovi’s hit tune “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” took on new meaning Tuesday as the rock star cut the ribbon on a namesake housing development for low-income residents and the formerly homeless in Philadelphia.

The 55-unit JBJ Soul Homes opened in the Francisville neighborhood after about 18 months of construction. Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation provided the lead gift for the $16.6 million complex, which he hopes will offer tenants the support they need to get back on their feet.

 

There was a soul-stirring celebration today in North Philadelphia as Project HOME cut the ribbon on the $16 million affordable housing project built in partnership with a non-profit founded by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

It was a celebration with soul.

As 55 formerly homeless, low income and teen residents prepare to move into the four-story JBJ Soul Homes at the corner of 15th and Fairmount.

 

Joan Dawson McConnon remembers the building down the street.

“Well, 1515 Fairmount was a building we bought down the street in 1990 and we spent five years in a legal battle trying to build 48 housing units there,” said McConnon, who co-founded Project HOME along with Sister Mary Scullion 25 years ago on Tuesday.

 

A Philadelphia affordable housing group is celebrating another milestone this week.

Project Home will open 55 apartment units in Fairmount for the poor and formerly homeless with funding from rock singer Jon Bon Jovi and others.  The group's leader, Sister Mary Scullion, said this housing is special at a time when the general homeless population is decreasing. 

 

SISTER MARY Scullion once spent a week on the streets with the homeless to learn what it was like to have to find food when she was hungry and a place to sleep at night.

"I had to depend on the kindness of strangers," Sister Mary, of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, recalled last week.

"I did ask people if they could spare a couple of dollars. And sometimes, when people would leave food that they were discarding, I would take that."

Philadelphia Magazine Interview: Sister Mary’s Rock Star Friends and Humble Mission

It’s been 25 years since Sister Mary Scullion and her associate, Joan Dawson McConnon, founded Project HOME with the aim of ending homelessness in Philly. Homelessness is still around, of course, but many Philadelphians have found education, employment, and a roof over their heads thanks to the organization. Project HOME celebrates this month with an anniversary gala — and the opening of 55 new units of affordable housing in partnership with rocker/philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi.

 

One of our residents, Dionne Stallworth from Connelly House, was honored by being named to the national Trans 100 list, a roll call that celebrates the work and achievements of trans people throughout the U.S.

Dionne has long been an advocate for dignity and justice for all persons.

 

Philanthropists John and Leigh Middleton are recipients of the 2013 Philadelphia Award, the venerable honor established in 1921 by Ladies' Home Journal editor Edward W. Bok.

The Middletons - whose family business, tobacco and cigar maker John Middleton Co., was sold in 2007 for $2.9 billion - have largely directed their philanthropy to education, homelessness, and workforce development projects.

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