Dignity’s mission is to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that confronts low-income families and individuals in the City of Philadelphia. Dignity Housing breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing quality transitional and permanent supportive housing, promoting self-sufficiency, and creating opportunities.
The Committee for Dignity and Fairness for the Homeless Housing Development, Inc. (doing business as Dignity Housing), was established in 1988. It grew out of the sustained, advocacy efforts by Philadelphia’s homeless activists during the mid-to-late 1980s, a period marked by extreme homelessness in Philadelphia and nationwide.
Alicia Christian, Dignity’s founder and first executive director, was one of these activists. She experienced a brief period of homelessness in the early 1980s which led her to understand firsthand the indignity and despair faced by those in shelters and on the streets. Alicia was able to pull herself out of homelessness by using her arsenal of skills and supports – she had a college degree, a solid work history, and a strong support system. Dignity was created to provide homeless individuals and families with enough skills and supports like Alicia had to become self-sufficient and succeed after transitioning from Dignity.
At any given time, approximately 160 formerly homeless adults and children reside in 58 scattered site, subsidized homes managed by Dignity. Units are organized into three housing programs, each with supportive services specially designed to meet the varying needs of the tenant population:
Alicia’s House – Secured, gated transitional housing program for families and individuals experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence. Fourteen (14) units are for women with children, two (2) units are for single women. All apartments in this development are fully furnished and supports focus on Transitioning to Permanent Housing and Healing from Trauma
Better Options for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) – A transitional housing program for families who became homeless due to substance addiction and are in recovery. BOSS provides 8 units of housing for families and offers supportive services to assist them in Transitioning to Permanent Housing and Maintaining Sobriety.
Enhanced Service Project (ESP) – Permanent Supportive Housing for formerly homeless residents with disabilities (or an adult or child family member with a disability) including chronic substance addiction, dual diagnoses (addiction and mental health), physical disabilities, or HIV-AIDS. ESP has 34 scattered-site units for male or female heads of households – 16 for households with children; 18 for single adults. Residents receive support to Enhance Independent Living Skills
Toward Self -ufficiency
- Case Management and Referrals
- Health and Wellness Supports
- Housing Preparation and Placement
- Education and Employment Readiness Services
- Alicia Christian Life Skills Scholarships
- After School Enrichment Program for School-Aged Children
Services for the Community
Dignity’s computer lab, located at 5227-R Germantown Avenue, is free and open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Friday during regular business hours. Dignity also provides free Beginner Computer Courses to the public. Call the main office at 215-713-0960 to find out when the next class will be offered. The computer lab and classes are a part of KEYSPOT, a citywide coalition of community-based groups committed to bringing Internet access, training and technology to all Philadelphia communities
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