SEPTA wins a national award for its Hub of Hope program
This program is one of a few that SEPTA has to address issues of homelessness and addiction as part of its committed social outreach efforts.
SEPTA has won TransitCenter’s Frequency Award for Best Innovation in Social Services. TransitCenter is a national transportation advocacy organization based in New York. Their Frequency Awards are given out annually to “recognize outstanding work in the transit field”.
Tom Pera of TransitCenter explained that the Best Innovation Award, “recognizes an agency committed to going beyond its role as a transit service provider to become a community resource for positive change.”
Hub of Hope was started in 2012 by SEPTA in partnership with Project HOME and the City of Philadelphia, as a way to help people get out of the cold. At that time it was only open from January to April, and in 2018 it opened year-round in its current location.
It is located in the lower concourse of Suburban Station and offers homeless people amenities like coffee, meals, showers, and laundry. Before COVID, dental services were also offered. In addition to these services, the program also offers resource coordination. Hub of Hope is located at 1400 Arch Street, Sub Concourse Level, Municipal Services Building.
“We are incredibly honored to receive this award,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards, in a press release. “Through our partnership with the City of Philadelphia and Project HOME, we are making SEPTA safer for everyone.”
This is not the only program that SEPTA has to help Philadelphia’s homeless population. About six months ago they started testing the SCOPE (Safety, Cleanliness, Ownership, Partnership, and Engagement) program. SCOPE aims to get people help in regards to homelessness and addiction. Outreach workers are placed at different stations to engage with people who are there frequently and appear to need help. They will find out what sort of help the person needs and provide them with resources.
SEPTA also has SAVE (Serving a Vulnerable Entity Unit). This program is specific to the Market-Frankford Line. It pairs up social workers with SEPTA police to better respond to complaints made against vulnerable populations.
All three programs focus on getting people the resources they need to get out of their current situation rather than policing them.