Two youth curfew centers open in West and South Philadelphia
The City of Philadelphia funded two centers that will take in youth who are found on the street after hours.
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Diversified Community Services at Dixon House in South Philly and Community of Compassion in West, hosts youth programs during curfew hours in hopes to curb the city’s growing violence.
Tyrone Sims, a community youth mentor partnering with Community of Compassion’s curfew center, is confident the programs will drive change in Philadelphia communities.
“Southwest and South Philly are two different, but we’re on the same mission. This is a building like a Rubix's cube; we’re going to match up the colors,” said Sims. “The program is structured to bring change, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Both curfew centers are scheduled to operate from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., offering community resources to families and youth ages 10 to 17. Philadelphia local police districts are told to bring youth to the centers who are in violation of the city’s curfew.
Once at Dixon House or Community of Compassion, the youth are welcomed by staff ready to connect them with their relatives and provide them with a space to complete activities.
Elisha Richardson, community evening resource center director at Dixon House, said youth have the option to engage in homework assistance, life skills training, creative programming in their computer lab, or play sports in the community gym.
Youth that arrive from 7 p.m onward are walked through a registration process that then gives them access to the centers’ resources.
Staff also have snacks and meals onsite for youth who may show up hungry, or have no source of food.
Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services on July 29, 2021, issued a request for proposal seeking community centers in areas that reflect the most curfew violations and violence rates.
Kimberly Ali, the commissioner of DHS, told AL DÍA that the city originally planned to open three centers in December 2021, but immediate funding only passed for two. The third is scheduled to open in the spring.
“With funding support from the city council and the city, we rolled out the application process and selected the best applicants according to the particular police division,” said Ali.
Each center was funded $650,000 to provide youth services in Philadelphia, a decision Councilwoman Katherine Gilmore Richardson says aims to reduce youth engaged violence.
When asked about a long-term vision for the curfew centers in Philadelphia, Gilmore Richardson and Ali agreed the city needs more.
“Ideally we are going to follow the data, and so, long-term we were thinking about the possibility of six centers aligned with the six police divisions. But because it’s a pilot, we’re going to look at what the data tells us,” said Ali.
This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.