People's Emergency Center Community Development Corporation

PEC Perspective

A policy e-newsletter from People's Emergency Center 

October 2013

A Message from Farah Jimenez, CEO & President of PEC

PEC recently hosted State Representative Dave Reed (R-Indiana) and a committee of State Representatives on a fact finding mission to learn about poverty. Rep. Reed and the Republican House Majority Policy Committee have launched the Empowering Opportunities initiative - "a public policy agenda that centers on supporting effective gateways out of poverty."


According to the Committee's brochure, "The Empowering Opportunities initiative aims to identify and access the challenges facing Pennsylvania's low-income families. The goal is to establish effective and sustainable solutions to serve as the gateways out of poverty through the following principles: Identifying Barriers, Building Partnerships, Developing Solutions, Maintaining the Commitment."  


Rep. Reed, Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike), Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks), Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Montgomery/ Chester), and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D- Montgomery) toured PEC, and learned of our comprehensive strategies to strengthen our families and our community. Following the tour, the members were joined for a panel discussion by Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown and a representative of Rep. Michelle Brownlee's office. Joining PEC in the discussion were our colleagues from Project HOME, the Welcome Church of ECLA, and the Feast of Justice, a ministry of St. John's Lutheran Church in Northeast Philadelphia.


The members heard how various communities come together to organize an effort to move a family or individual out of homelessness and into a stable environment. They learned that no one person or family is homeless in a silo, that they had numerous experiences with different social systems before becoming homeless, and that the effort to end their homelessness required the coordination of many communities.


The visit from Rep. Reed and his colleagues signals a positive harbinger for the future. If we are to really tackle the issues surrounding communities and individuals in need, we need to be willing to let go of partisan accusations and instead focus on areas of agreement and understanding. As we continue finding our way through the new normal of this Great Recession, Rep. Reed is seeking to lead a new discussion at the State level and to challenge all of us to find ways to better work together in tackling poverty.


The comprehensive nature of PEC's services - from shelter to permanent housing; from personal to professional development; from workforce development to community development - offers an opportunity for the State to learn how best to leverage diverse services to improve outcomes for families. We are pleased that Rep. Reed and his colleagues, see our work in the same way and we look forward to serving as a resource to his Empowering Opportunities initiative over the months to come.


To learn more about the Committee's work, see their web site and blog at and  

PEC's Kira Strong and Farah Jimenez provide tour to state representatives.


State Representatives listen to community leaders in PEC's Commuity Room.


National groups suggest principles for developing plans to end famly homelessness  

PEC organized two events with national leaders to hear about new research that suggests principals for inclusion into plans to end family homelessness. 

Dr. Marueen Hayes discusses SHIFT Study.


PEC's "Growing Up Homeless" series featured a presentation by Dr. Maureen Hayes of the National Center on Family Homlessness on new research into housing programs that serve families. Dr. Hayes presented "The SHIFT Study" in September to a full house at the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey.


In addition to explaining the study, Dr. Hayes offered these policy implications for local planners to consider for their plans to end family homelessness:


Housing programs need to address:

  • Mothers' trauma histories and mental health consequences to achieve residential stability for the family over time.
  • Children's health and emotional problems to ensure family stability.

An effective response to family homelessness should include:

  • Housing.
  • Case management to address immediate needs including income, education and employment.
  • Comprehensive assessments of mothers and children that are tailored to the characteristics and needs of this subgroup of the homeless population; results used to target service delivery.
  • Trauma-informed care.
  • Parenting supports and skills training.
  • Mental health services for mothers' depression and PTSD.
  • Child-centered services and programs that promote and support healthy development for young children (e.g., play spaces).

This event also featured a community response from Roberta Cancellier, Deputy Director for Planning and Policy for the Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing, and Dr. Staci Perlman, Assistant Professor from the University of Delaware and PEC's Visiting Scholar.


See Dr. Hayes PowerPoint Presentation here.


Read the entire SHIFT Study.


On October 2, the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH) presented its"American Almanac on Family Homelessness" to 50 leaders in homeless services from throughout Pennsylvania.  Working with HAPPN and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, PEC helped organize the event. 


Matthew Adams, Principal Policy Analyst and Anna Simonsen-Meehan, Policy Analyst of the ICPH, delivered the presentation on the American Almanac of Family Homelessness with specific data on Pennsylvania.  The presentation included an in-depth discussion of key topics relevant to the study of family homelessness including housing, health, education, youth, race, federal funding, state ten-year plans, transitional housing, and mainstream programs in rural, suburban and urban settings impacting homeless families from the national and local level will be examined.  In a time of overwhelming demand and strained budgets, these data-driven topics can assist local leaders develop strategies with proven successful.  


Mr. Adams and Ms. Simonsen-Meehan offered these suggestions for local leaders to consider while drafting plans to end family homelessness:

PEC's Joe Willard and ICPH's Matt Adams during question and answer session.
  • Centralized or coordinated system for assessments and intake: ESG and CoC Program grantee requirement (HEARTH Act interim rules); multiple models available to fit local needs; single point of entry, multiple points of entry, no wrong door, hotline number; locally developed screening tool (used by all service providers)
  • Choosing target populations based on local needs assessment: data collection to establish the "lay of the land;" reassess periodically, adapt to changing needs
  • Choosing shelter and service models that fit local needs: data collection should drive the selection process; evaluate the research on each model critically
  • Setting specific but realistic goals: establish baselines, benchmarks, responsible parties, deadlines for each goal
  • Different strategies for different subpopulations: veteran families, parenting youth, householder with mental illness, etc. have different needs
  • Tracking progress through ongoing data collection
  • Releasing updates on progress annually: list accomplishments, barriers to progress, steps to overcome barriers, updated demographic information, revision of goals
  • Ending family homelessness doesn't necessarily require more money, just a reallocation of priorities/resources.
  • One size does not fit all, use most appropriate intervention based on family need
  • Tailor solutions to your community needs

See the ICPH PowerPoint Presentation here.


Read the American Almanac here


HAPPN leaders listen to presentation.


The United States Interagency on Homelessness (USICH) has lead the nation on plans to end homelessness in America. They first offered plans to end chronic and veteran homelessness. Many regions throughout the United States have developed local plans based on the national plans. In addition, USICH declared the goal of ending family homelessness by 2020 and many expect it to release a plan by 2015. When they do, local regions will be expected to develop achievable plans and goals. To prepare for this work, PEC is organizing a local effort to prepare the region for this development.  

U.S. Administration on Children & Families & National Alliance to End Homelessness Visit PEC
Ali Sutton, Assistant to a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Nora Gilligan of ACF, and Sharon McDonald, Director for Families and Youth for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, visited PEC during their trip to Philadelphia to learn about early education issues targeting young children who experience homelessness. 
PEC staff discussed how the agency works with children of all ages, providing a variety of educational, behavioral, and emotional supports. 


The Washington staff were in Philadelphia to learn how the City and providers were improving homeless children's access to Early Intervention services, Head Start, and high quality child care. In an earlier meeting in which PEC participated, they were pleased to hear that Philadelphia has a process to screen all young homeless children ages 0-5 residing in emerency or transitional housing for develomental delays.  They also discussed how the TANF program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) could support homeless mothers more than what is currently being provided. 

PEC's Vice President for Social Services Malkia Singleton (center), talks to Ali Sutton, Nora Gilligan, and Sharon McDonald (l. to r.)
Homes Within Reach Conference Offers Workshops on Homelessness
The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania's "Homes Within Reach" conference is the most informative event in the state on homeless issues. National, state, and regional leaders convene to discuss best practices, systemic changes, and to network. One of the signature events will be the "Monday Night Homelessness Affinity Dinner," featuring presentations on ending veterans homeless by Philadelphia's Marcella Maguire and HUD Regional Administrator Jane Vincent, and hosted  by the HAPPN network. 
Here are some of the workshops:
  • Monday Night Homelessness Affinity Dinner,5-9 pm
  • Meaningful Involvement of Consumers in Program Design - Why and How?
  • New Collaborative Models to Help Veterans Address Homelessness
  • Winning Over Landlords: Preparing Justice-Involved Folks to be Great Tenants
  • To Count or Not to Count, That is the Question
  • Re-envisioning Supportive Housing: Corralling Housing Resources for the Most Vulnerable Pennsylvanians
  • Master leasing as a Rapid Response to Address Homelessness
  • Turning the Homeless System Upside Down

The Conference is in Harrisburg November 11 - 13. Register today


In This Issue
A Message From Farah Jimenez
Plans to End Family Homelessness
November 1st Forum
Upcoming Conferences


Register Now For:


Promising Practices and Future Directions in Family and Child Homelessness


Friday, November 1, 2:00 PM




PEC Visiting Scholar Dr. Staci Perlman, University of Delaware, and


Dr. Mary Haskett, North Carolina State University


Location: United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia


A wine and cheese reception will follow.


This forum is one of PEC's Growing Up Homeless Forums.


Dr. Staci Perlman's presentation will focus on promoting the well-being of children experiencing homelessness, with a specific emphasis on supporting positive parent-child relationships. Dr. Mary Haskett will share highlights from recent research conducted with a community-based project designed to support the mental health needs of children experiencing homelessness-Community Action Targeting Children who are Homeless. 


Register Now   




Homes Within Reach Conference:
The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania's 2013 Homes Within Reach Conference will soon be here. The Conference is in Harrisburg November 11 - 13. Register today.
Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness: Beyond Housing
The Conference is in New York City January 15-17, 2014.  Register today.

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