WORKING TO END HOMELESSNESS
The other day I attended a performance which marked the culmination of a six-week artists' workshop at the newest emergency housing site in our network of social services, Ife Wellness Center. Nineteen, SELF participants from Outley House, Station House, Richard Jones Recovery House, Ife Wellness Center, and Susquehanna House engaged in the arts program which used elements of Photo Voice as a means for participants to express their trauma through the creative arts.
Intentionally Theatrical Conversations
(ITC) allowed participants to release their personal trauma by speaking their truth through art. The multi-media project sought to rebuke depression and make pride visible to promote profound healing. Twelve of the 19 artists performed and showed their art work to a packed house at the William Way LGBT Center in downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 19. (Please scroll down to see portions of the show and talk back session).
Thank you to performing and visual artists Miss B, Christine Beckwith, Kelly Ann R. Cody, Steven Drake, Louis Fasone, "Nate" Ancoine Francois, Desmond Green, Vincent D. Johnson, Dupre' Norman, Keion Hodges, Richard Randolph and Jennifer Upright. Thank you to our producers and collaborating artists Mikal Odum, John Dowell, Terrence L. Gore, Victor Jackson of Ourchive215, and Cobbina Frempong of Green District Media. Thank you to Director Zane B of ZBE Productions. And a very special thank you to all who came out to support our participants!
When I started at SELF nearly two years ago, I envisioned SELF offering programs like ITC which would impact our participants holistically. We take seriously, our ability to help individuals transform their lives spiritually, physically, and emotionally. In addition to our intensive housing-focused case management services, ITC and a host of other programs--older and newer--at our sites offer opportunities for our participants to experience healing. ITC is an
evidence-based program that models the types of transformative experiences that help our participants thrive.
We are grateful that the five artists facilitating the program did so at a fraction of the cost because they believe in SELF and in our participants. And most importantly, our team believes in SELF which makes all the difference.
Intentionally Theatrical Conversations is symbolic of the awesome year we've had thanks to our team members, participants, funding partners at the Office of Homeless Services and Office of Addiction Services, program partners at the Urban Affairs Coalition, and
Here are some highlights and alignments we've made to improve our outcomes and make an even bigger impact in the lives of our participants:
(based on July 2018 to April 2019 data)
- Provided 101,942 emergency housing beds and shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness;
- Provided 147,727 meals;
- Accommodated 13,179 individual stays through After Hours one night placement; and
- Helped secure housing for 257 individuals.
PROGRAMMING AND INNOVATION
- Home4Good--with our partners ODAAT and Center for Hope, we received funding that allows us to take better care of our participants with medical fragility.
- Ife Wellness Center --opened on Jan. 31, 2019, is a coed emergency housing site.
- Resource Fair--more than 115 SELF participants and community members attended the SELF Resource Fair at Ife Wellness Center. Twenty-three organizations set up tables and provided much needed information on expungements, health insurance, jobs and more.
- Increased our program partners--SELF works with over 50 program partners to help participants achieve self-sustainability.
- Hired a Director of Programs
- Hired a Human Resources Business Partner
- Improved Case Management Standards
- Completed a Second round of IT Upgrades
- Restarted the SELF Community Advisory Board (S-CAB) which is comprised of past and current participants. Members of the S-CAB recently completed a listening tour that included all nine sites. S-CAB members engaged with participants and conducted surveys in an effort to learn more about participants' experiences at our sites and areas upon which they believe need additional improvement.
- CounterACTANTS is an initiative that allows businesses to show their support for SELF's mission and participants by donating funding, expertise, and other valuable in-kind services to support our work and CounterACT social determinants of health including homelessness.
- Galerie Hamid@SELF: We have transformed our offices to a art gallery. Through the generosity of Hamid Mabsoute, we are able to adorn our office with incredible art work that we sell. Hamid then donates 20 percent of the sales to SELF.
- School Lane Charter School: Students at School Lane Charter School donated more than 200 personal care bags and delivered them to participants at Outley House.
- New Foundations Charter School: Eighth grade students at New Foundations Charter School donated 15 tablets to Susquehanna House. They also taught Susquehanna House participants how to use them to search for jobs.
- Keller Williams: Realtors at Keller Williams donated their time and labor and beautified outdoor spaces including planting a vegetable garden, shrubbery, and plants as well as fixing and painting outdoor benches at Outley House as part of their "Red Day" day of service.
- Appeals to supporters: we began asking supporters like you to help fund our important work.
ADVOCACY AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
- Voices of the Homeless Candidates Forum: We held a candidates forum to bring homelessness to the forefront of the discussion during the municipal primary. Over 150 people attended including 22 City Council candidates.
- Anti-Patient Dumping Advocacy: We are working with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell's office to advocate for legislation to end the practice of patient dumping in Philadelphia.
- #Phillyendhomelessness2020: We launched a social media campaign to bring awareness to homelessness and the need for affordable housing.
And our participants see the changes we're making. In our quarterly participant survey,
said that our
good or excellent
and 26 percent rated our services as average. We are working to increase the number of participants who rate us as good or excellent.
I am always affected by how our participants said we've impacted their lives. Some share their stories when they see you, and others even write letters. I wanted to share an excerpt from one of the letters below:
"...I've heard a lot about shelters that they rob and steal peoples stuff. But here it was different. You could feel the peace and love from the people that run this shelter. They check on you daily and make sure you are alright...."
Our team members love the work they do. We want to continue to impact the lives of our participants and need help from people like you. Students from New Foundations Charter and School Lane Charter, realtors from Keller Williams and people like Hamid Mabsoute have all impacted the lives of our participants by giving monetary donations, personal care items, non-perishable food, and more.
As we near the end of our fiscal year, help us help some of the most resilient people I know. Click on the give button to make a contribution through PayPal, send a donation to us at our offices at 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 205, 19107, send an email to email@example.com, or call Donna Moore at 215-496-9610 to donate personal care items to help our participants.
We are hoping to raise $5,000 by June 30 and will get there if you make a
of $25, $50 or $100 today. Help us continue to help the homeless.
President and Chief Operating Officer