The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Homelessness and Shelters

Homeless shelters are temporary residences for homeless people. Homeless shelters are usually open to anyone, without regard to the reason for need. Some shelters limit their clientele by gender or age. In the United States, most homeless shelters expect clients to stay elsewhere during the day, returning only to sleep, or if the shelter also provides meals, to eat. In Philadelphia, the Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) mission is to assist/prepare adults and families for self-sufficiency and independent living. OSH offers a network of shelters, boarding homes, and refers families, couples and single individuals to available housing resources. Living in a homeless shelter for several months to a year is often the only way that low-income families in need of affordable housing can get into limited subsidized and public housing in Philadelphia.

That’s the ceiling in the bedroom, and actually it fell down from the snow last winter. My kids’ dad, he came over and fixed it up but it still is not safe. It [worries me] a lot. I want to actually go into a shelter, but right now I’m on a waiting list for a shelter.

"Misunderstood by many, loved by enough. I stand on my own two feet like a grown woman. Single mother of one and barely making it but never struggling."

-Excerpt from a poem by Whitney

You have all these homes and millions and millions of people living in shelters and you’re saying there’s no housing but you have all these abandoned homes going to waste."


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