MainStreet is on a mission to find the charitable organizations most worthy of your donations. We focus on their effectiveness and the amount of money they budget for actual good deeds, as opposed to that which goes to overhead.
This week we're looking at Project H.O.M.E. The Philadelphia-based organization helps people who are currently or formerly homeless break the cycle of homelessness.
Who they are and what they do: Founded in 1989 to help people who were living on the streets in Philadelphia, Project H.O.M.E. (which stands for Housing, Opportunities for employment, Medical care and Education) has since greatly expanded its services.
“We now provide a comprehensive continuum of care, including outreach to people living on the streets and a range of residential programs for formerly homeless adults and families, as well as neighborhood revitalization programming that helps ‘prevent’ homelessness,” says Amanda S. Aronoff, Esq., Project H.O.M.E.’s director of development and public relations. “After a few years of successfully working with people living on the streets and helping them move into housing, we realized that we needed to address the root causes of homelessness and poverty. Recognizing the connection between vulnerable communities and homelessness and poverty, we started doing neighborhood revitalization in North Philadelphia. These efforts now include a state of the art technology center–the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs–which provides critical technology and literacy education for children, teen and adults, as well as employment services. We also have a homeownership program for first-time homeowners where we take abandoned homes and rehab them and sell them to first-time homebuyers, as well as a community health program and various community organizing efforts.”
One of the group’s toughest obstacles is overcoming the common misconceptions and stereotypes involving the homeless. “The image of homeless people as helpless, hopeless and lazy is, in fact, the opposite of the truth,” says Aronoff. “Indeed, our formerly homeless residents, once given the supports they need, are anxious to become active and involved in every aspect of our work–as employees, supporters and advocates. The folks with whom we work are powerful and effective advocates for policy change. They are also the most effective mentors for folks who are struggling with similar challenges.”