PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The city office that provides services to Philadelphia’s homeless has a new name: The Office of Homeless Services.
It may seem obvious but it’s deceptively simple.
Homelessness is complex. There are chronic homeless, sheltered homeless, street homeless — but every kind has a stigma attached to it. So, years ago, the city chose to focus on solutions when naming the “Office of Supportive Housing.” But that’s social work jargon, coined in the 1990’s, not very descriptive, which was a problem for the new director, Liz Hersh.
“I’m old school,” Hersh said. “I think your name ought to say what you do.”
Besides, says Hersh, supportive housing was just a stage in the city’s evolution on addressing homelessness. Now it does more.
“Prevention, early intervention, street outreach, emergency assistance,” she said, “rapid rehousing and permanent housing.”
The name change comes as the city is in the early stages of a 100 day challenge to put a deep dent in youth and chronic street homelessness.