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Suburban Station to open permanent service hub for the homeless

It will be a place to seek shelter, food, and services

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After operating for six years each winter at Suburban Station, a temporary walk-in enagement service for Philly’s homeless population will open its doors once again in January 2018—this time for good.

Project HOME is making its Hub of Hope service center a permanent fixture along one of the underground concourses of Suburban Station, the Inquirer reports. For the past six years, the Hub of Hope has only opened its doors during the winter and early spring months, providing walk-in social and health services for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Center Center.

Because of its Center City location and access to basic amenities like bathrooms and shelter, Suburban Station has become a place of refuge for the city’s homeless, especially during winter months. After accounting for more than 200 people sleeping in the train and subway concourses in November 2011, Project HOME came up with the Hub of Hope concept and started its services in 2012.

This past winter, more than 11,000 visitors sought out the Hub of Hope from January to April 2017. Of those visitors, 127 people received clinic services and 156 people were placed in shelter, treatment, or other types of housing options.

Those most recent numbers played a role in Project HOME’s decision to explore year-round options for the Hub of Hope. Construction on the service station’s permanent location began this past summer and will open in time for the 2018 winter season.

Project HOME is partnering with SEPTA on the permanent site. Other cities have taken steps to address the homeless population on their respective transit lines, but not in such an active, permanent way, according to the Inquirer’s report. Los Angeles, for example, plans to focus more on information to address the city’s homelessness crisis, telling Curbed LA, “We plan to put some brochures on our DASH buses to offer info about outreach organizations.”

The Hub of Hope will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and offer some weekend hours. Meals will be on hand, as will health and legal services. Showers and laundry services will also be provided.