By: Ella Curcuruto

Our Brothers Place operates under the Bethesda Project, in association with the City of Philadelphia. The Bethesda Project started in 1979, operates 14 facilities in Center City that provide emergency housing and supportive services to 2,000 homeless individuals each year.

The emergency shelter serves 150 men throughout the year; 50 additional men receive daily support. Services include meals, showers, clothes, and counseling services. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a doctor is available on-site. These services are provided in collaboration with Gateway Services Center, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Old First Reformed Church, and Trinity Memorial Church.

The shelter has been said to be an excellent gateway for homeless men to obtain independent housing. This is where Back on My Feet comes in. The program starts with morning runs, but eventually, individuals work with BoMF to create a “personal roadmap towards independence.” OBP and BoMF partner to give these men a chance for new lives.

Center for H.O.P.E. is an emergency shelter located in Francisville, Philadelphia. H .O. P. E. stands for Housing, Opportunity, Purpose, and Empowerment. The Center provides services based on these principles.

Housing: Provides short-term emergency housing, as well as resources to help individuals find secure housing for the future. “66 beds are designated for women with support services. 48 beds are designated for transient men and 50 beds for long-term men who have shown significant moves forward towards independence.”

Opportunity: Focuses on emotional self-improvement for the members.

Purpose: Case management services are provided, aiding in stability for the long run.

Empowerment: Includes job-readiness coaching, and an economic education curriculum.

Those who come to the Center go through Philadelphia’s Office of Supportive Housing. The program’s goal is to help the homeless through empowerment. Not just emotional empowerment; the programs help an individual feel secure in their career and economic knowledge, as well.

Back on My Feet has been partnered with CFH for four years. There was a chance to serve in the area where CFH is located, and so the team was created. Since the CFH is such a large facility, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to serve the members. BoMF alumni member Jesse says (of C.F.H.), “The friendships are great, the people are incredibly supportive. I didn’t know I would love running as much as I do, and I wouldn’t have known that without Back on My Feet.”