New ‘homeless outreach strategy’ targets Center City

New ‘homeless outreach strategy’ targets Center City
Rikard Larma

Ever since the tear down of the old LOVE Park, it may have inadvertently caused the displacement of many of the city’s homeless.

In response, Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials announced Monday a new “homeless outreach strategy” that targets four areas in Center City known to be “hot spots” for many who have been displaced.

“Today, we are making a commitment to conduct proactive and targeted homeless outreach engagements three times a day at optimal time frames,” Kenney said in a news release.

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“This will enable us to assist a greater number of our homeless citizens in meeting their basic survival needs while addressing the valid concerns of local businesses, commuters, advocates and all who share the streets of Center City.”

Using data from panhandling maps and other records documenting the city’s homeless, the Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) will deploy street outreach teams in easily identifiable clothing seven days a week from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m.

Clad in orange shirts that identify them as being from OSH, members of the outreach teams will be providing people they find with immediate options for transitioning to emergency housing, medical care, mental heath and addiction treatment centers and other social services.

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“People were living and sleeping in LOVE Park and they have been displaced and are now in other places – in the concourse or sleeping somewhere else,” Liz Hersh, director of the OSH, said, according to a Billy Penn report.

“It’s just what happens when people don’t have homes. It just wasn’t as visible for a while because people were more dispersed.”

Officials say the homeless outreach strategy will likely last into the spring and summer months.

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