Monday Minute with Trish DowneyFebruary 12, 2024 Category: Q&A
“HopePHL is a nonprofit that came about from the merger of people’s Emergency Center, which was here in West Philadelphia for 50 years, and you service Inc, which is sort of the entire Philadelphia community for seven years. So we came together, merged our organizations and our services, and started a new brand called HopePHL, otherwise known as hopeful.
We work with young children under the age of five, getting them connected to or early childhood education experiences, we work with kids in the schools, from K to eight. And into high school, we work with youth across the city who are experiencing homelessness or some kind of housing or familial instability. We work with families who are trying to keep it together and prevent any kind of involvement from other government agencies. And we provide utility assistance, sometimes rental assistance when we have funds for it. And we work with the communities in West Philadelphia, Belmont manual Mill Creek, West Paulsen, Saunders Park and Pelton village, on keeping people who’ve been living here a really long time. They’re able to stay in their community, despite rising housing costs, work with people on tangled title, we have a public computer lab at 39th. And Warren, and we do work with other groups on criminal record expungement. And getting people set up with wills. All of all of which I know right, higher, but all of which has to do with building equity within our community for people who have been less resourced.”
What issues are important to the community?
“Here in West Philadelphia, we’re looking at, and this would be across the city, everyone’s really looking at affordable housing issues, right? There’s a real shortage of housing that’s affordable for the average person in order to live by themselves and not live with like three or four friends. And that’s not necessarily doable when you have a family, right. So that’s one issue. Lack of jobs that are paying a living wage, so that you could afford your housing is definitely an issue. In some of the communities we see more violence than others, which is really unfortunate. Like, for instance, when I where I live in South Philadelphia, it’s not as big a deal, I think, as it is here in West Philly. And I’d like to see, you know, West Philly benefit from having what I have for my home and for my children. So what some of that has to do with the housing instability that a lot of people face the economic instability that a lot of people face. And so it’s kind of a symptom of these broader issues that we’ve really been struggling to resolve here in Philadelphia over the last few decades.”
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What role do you think the government is playing to access services?
“There’s already several government agencies at the local level that are working on this issue. One is the Division of Housing and Community Development at the city. The other one is Office of Homeless Services at the state level, you’ve got the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, at the federal level, you’ve got the the Philadelphia Housing Authority, they are all can be really great partners in helping nonprofits and for profit developers find a way to provide enough housing that’s affordable for everyone. That but it’s a very complicated process. But they are should be working together and working at the grassroots level to find out from the people directly to understand what they need the city to do.”
Trish Downey is the Communications Director at Hope PHL.