By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The advocacy group “Project HOME” today held a grand opening for a new apartment building in Philadelphia’s Tioga section, providing homes for formerly homeless men, women, and children.

“We are celebrating what it means to have a home,” said Project HOME’s Sister Mary Scullion, described as “the light that all follow” as Philadelphia tries to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

The four-story brick building at 21st and Venango Streets was gutted on the inside by workers from the neighborhood — including some formerly homeless (see related story), according to project manager Don Billingsley.  He says that was a specific goal of the project.

“We went back to the contractor and said, ‘Not just from Philadelphia, but from this and adjacent zip codes,’ ” Billingsley recalled.

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ray homes  tawa Homes for the Homeless Apartment Building is Dedicated in Tioga

(The Ray Homes, at 21st and Venango Streets. Credit: Steve Tawa)



US congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) says most of the funding for the $11-million project came from federal stimulus dollars.

“(President Obama) said we want to do things that help our economy, but we need to do work that America needs done, so we’re not just spending money to spend money,” Fattah said today.

The building, which is LEED certified at the silver level, includes 53 efficiency apartments.

For more about the Ray Homes, see Lauren Lipton’s “Positively Philadelphia” report.

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