Guiding chronically homeless people to the assistance they need is a delicate process, said those who work with the city’s indigent, and requires giving people with nowhere to go a place to feel welcome.
Between 800 and 900 people are estimated to live on the streets and spend their nights exposed to the elements. An additional 5,700 are in shelters or temporary housing, and an uncounted number put down beds in abandoned cars or buildings, or couch-surf with friends or relatives.
Starting Wednesday, they will be offered a safe place in an unlikely space: deep in the tunnels of Suburban Station, where Project HOME, SEPTA, and city government have cooperated to build a daytime service center designed to help the city’s homeless. Hub of Hope, as the 11,000-square-foot facility is named, brings meals, medical care, social services, and basic amenities such as bathrooms, showers, and laundry machines to Center City, where a large portion of the city’s homeless spend the day, but such services are scarce.