Camden’s Response to Homelessness

I work at Joseph’s House, a new overnight homeless shelter in Camden. It is based on a homeless cafe model used in Philly. It’s a pretty simple, bare bones operation- we do not provide beds (hence no need of state licensing), but provide a safe haven for 45 men and women  from the cold and streets outside. A little restoration of human dignity, a little help finding a job, apartment, drug rehab, some one to talk to, play a chess or card game. Some dinner, some breakfast. We opened a second site this year in Fairview- that was closed down after only 20 days because of neighborhood protest. Now our downtown location (as well as the day shelter New Visions) is under threat of closing by the city. The motives are clearly political albeit unclear- whether its expansion of Cooper in that direction, the new med school being built around the corner, the city desiring to provide less services to not attract ‘that kinda people’, or just good old fashioned fear of poor people. Philadelphia’s homelessness has dramatically fallen in recent years because of their network of solid shelters, which Joseph’s House is trying to start on this side of the Delaware. But aparrently Dana Redd thinks if you close your eyes and ignore the homeless they just arent there.

Here’s the three articles written about Joseph’s House in order of most recently. All three are terribly inaccurate in details (the name of our organization, the issue of licensing, etc).

Courier- Post, Feb 6 2012– “Camden Shifting Stance on Homeless”

Courier- Post, Jan 30 2012– “Church’s Warming Station Put on Hold”

Courier- Post, Jan 14 2012– “Homeless Mission Raises Concerns”



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