Volunteering at Joseph’s House

Joseph’s House opened up Wednesday the 19th,  9:30 at night. JH is a newly organized overnight homeless shelter based on the homeless café model used at Bethesda Project in Philadelphia. The shelter is open 7 days a week during winter months, with a capacity to serve 40 people per night. The café model is set up by providing an indoor area safe from the weather and rough nature of the streets outside. There are no beds, but there is an open floor space for people to spread out their blankets and such. We aim to restore the dignity of the homeless by creating an atmosphere of hospitality. They are welcomed as guests into our own home- we serve hot coffee, soup, and converse with our guests about their days or their needs. DSW and JVC have each taken certain nights of the week where we go and volunteer for 2 or 3 hours once a week. I went last Wednesday, the opening night, and we had 19 people show up in the snow that was coming down fast.

That first night a guy came in, Joe, freezing and in bad shape. He’d been kicked out of his parents house and needed his seizure medication, we kinda pieced together his story from what he said. We helped him out the best we could- gave him dry clothes, coffee, soup. We kept a close eye on him the first couple hours cause he couldn’t get around to do lots of things by himself. The next morning, JH staff was going to get him to a homeless healthcare place but he left before they did. We haven’t seen or heard of him back at JH since then. I hope he’s safe.


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