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Homeless Drop-In Site in Center City Wraps Up Another Winter Season

(Karen Orrick at the shutdown party for Hub of Hope, attended by volunteers and clients.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Karen Orrick at the shutdown party for Hub of Hope, attended by volunteers and clients. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A program to help Philadelphia’s homeless during the cold winter months has closed for the season.

The “Hub of Hope,” in Suburban Station, helped more than 600 people from December through March.

When the weather gets cold, Suburban Station, at 16th and JFK Boulevard in center city, effectively becomes the largest homeless shelter in the city.

But Hub of Hope coordinator Karen Orrick says that presents an opportunity.

“When it’s rainy and cold, by convincing someone to come in, they can be connected with services which can help them take the next steps toward getting permanent housing, toward getting out of the cycle of homelessness,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

This is the second year that volunteers and health care professionals have taken over a storefront under 2 Penn Center for the project.

Orrick says some visitors wanted only coffee, but 180 got needed medical treatment and 140 got connected to shelter.

One of the latter was 23-year-old Sharif McCray, who says it has turned his life around.

“Everything is working out,” he said on Monday evening, “and everything is still adding on and building up.  Hopefully I’ll have a job soon. That’s what I’m hoping for right now.”

Warmer weather brings a hiatus for the Hub, but Orrick says they’ll be back next winter.

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