By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One Philadelphia Christmas observance had special meaning for some of the guests. Several recently homeless people celebrated being inside and off the street for this holiday.

When the priest at Project HOME read the part of the gospel where Christ is born in a stable because there’s no room indoors, Michael felt a pang of recognition.

“That’s my story, you know? It’s a terrible thing not to have anywhere to go,” Michael told KYW Newsradio.

That part of his story is over for him, the other part is with Project HOME in Philadelphia.

“I’ve been a resident here at Project HOME for two years, the best two years of my life,” he said.

So Christmas, with its message of hope and salvation, has a meaning for him that, perhaps, those who haven’t faced such dire times might not appreciate. That’s why project HOME co-founder Joan McKinnon says she finds it the most meaningful place to spend the holiday.

“365 days we bear witness to that hope and we come together today and we celebrate it with each other,” McKinnon said.

In addition to Michael, Dave was among the residents, staff, friends and some still-homeless people celebrating the holiday with Project HOME co-founders, Sister Mary Scullion and Joan McKinnon.

“Hope, every day, is lived here and so we just take the time today to formally celebrate it,” McKinnon said.

Picture of Dave by KYW's Pat Loeb

Picture of Dave by KYW’s Pat Loeb

Last Christmas, Dave was out on the street.

“I basically had the clothes on my back and the shoes on my feet,” he said.

Now, Dave is housed, sober and starts a new job in January.

“Mountains can be moved from one Christmas to the next,” Dave said.

This was Michael’s second Christmas at Project HOME, after 11 years of living on the street.