May 28, 2008 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced several new initiatives today to address homelessness in Philadelphia, including: a new partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority to provide 500 housing opportunities this year for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, 200 housing opportunities, combined with social services, for chronically homeless individuals, and ongoing homeless café operations.
“The issue of homelessness affects every Philadelphian,” said Mayor Nutter. “The initiatives announced today are the first steps in this administration’s committed effort to reducing homelessness and helping move individuals and families into permanent housing. We will continue to work in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, together with the advocacy and provider communities, to deliver lasting solutions to an issue that confronts all of us.”
Carl Greene, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, said, “We are proud to join with Mayor Nutter in attacking the city’s severe homelessness problem. Today marks a major step forward. It is just unfortunate that we don’t have the resources to serve all of the people who need our help. Having a home will provide an essential foundation for a new start for the families and individuals benefiting from this program.”
The Mayor was joined at a press conference on Dilworth Plaza this morning by Philadelphia Housing Authority Executive Director Carl Greene, Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity Dr. Don Schwarz, and Director of the Department of Behavioral Health Dr. Arthur Evans.
In response to the increasing number of homeless individuals and families in need of behavioral health services, addiction treatment, and appropriate housing, the City of Philadelphia is demonstrating an unprecedented commitment to resolving homelessness.
The strategy is a partnership between the Office of Supportive Housing, led by Dainette Mintz, and Department of Behavioral Health, and is coordinated by the Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity and the Mayor’s Office.
It includes the following:
Continuing Overnight Café Operations Continued operation at two overnight cafes to accommodate individuals unwilling to enter treatment or shelters.
Increasing Housing for the Chronically Homeless 75 additional “safe haven” and residential treatment beds will be created for our toughest to reach populations.
These beds will serve individuals living with acute addiction and behavioral health problems. We will also expand the number of placements for couples.
New Permanent & Subsidized Housing Opportunities 125 subsidized housing opportunities for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and needing support, with additional units being brought online in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 300 housing opportunities from the Philadelphia Housing Authority for families and 200 housing opportunities for individuals.
“Appropriate housing opportunities create the context for successful service delivery,” said Office of Supportive Housing Director Dainette Mintz. “We must not allow the sight of someone sleeping on a park bench to be synonymous with our urban landscape. Service-enriched housing is needed and Mayor Nutter has made an unprecedented commitment to provide the resources and partnerships needed for success.”