By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A drop-in center for the homeless in Suburban Station will close for the season early next month. It’s been in the same concourse storefront for four winters, but its future is currently in doubt.
Social worker Kathleen Kelley has connected dozens of people to housing and other services, when they came into the Hub to get out of the cold.
“If we didn’t have this space, those people would really fall through the cracks, and be really vulnerable and who knows how long they’d go on for without any type of help,” she says.
The Hub of Hope almost didn’t open this year. Project HOME says the landlord who’s donated the space was reluctant to reserve it for them for another year, but in the end relented, which was lucky for Jerome Ballard.
“They help you out a lot with different things, give you different programs, help you get your insurance forms, food stamps if you need them, stuff like that,” he explains to KYW Newsradio.
Ballard is one of hundreds of people for whom the Hub was vital, this winter, according to social worker Carmen Green:
“I get here a little after six and they’ll be waiting to come in because most of the shelters will let them go at five in the morning, so where is there to go in that kind of weather?”
Green says most of the clients take refuge in Suburban Station anyway. Giving them a place to go she thinks not only makes sense, but is the one thing that can make a difference:
“The most important thing to me is engaging them, letting them know you can make it.”
Ballard adds he hopes the Hub reopens, but that he won’t be there when it does.