Among the ten largest cities in the U.S., the one with the highest poverty rate is Philadelphia, at 26 percent. Yet Philly has one of the lowest rates of homeless people per capita. That paradox can be explained to a considerable degree by the success of Project HOME, the Philadelphia charity that has helped get close to 9,000 people off the streets, in the process becoming one of the nation’s most influential and admired organizations for battling homelessness.
The organization was launched with a $100,000 check from the Connelly Foundation, after three daughters of foundation creator John Connelly went to visit a “feisty” nun and a newly minted MBA who they had been told were planning an attack on homelessness in their mutual hometown. Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson went on to build an efficient and business-like charity with 370 employees, 650 volunteers, and a reputation for getting things done. Project HOME has recently collected some of the largest donations ever made to an organization aiding the homeless: $30 million from Philadelphians John and Leigh Middleton. Singer and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi has also made multimillion-dollar contributions to the group, helping finance the latest of its 15 residential centers, which feature 55 efficiency apartments with support services in the areas of recovery, health care, education, and employment.
- Project HOME programs, projecthome.org/our-work