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With letters atramentous by activity for the first-ever activity of its kind, during the above coverage, PW batten with a brief called Glen Dixon, who delivered awesome intuition: “[The Hub of Hope is]  all able-bodied and good. But are they accomplishing it to advice people, or aloof to accumulate [homeless] bodies from actuality apparent in the accessible eye?”

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Now it appears there could be some accuracy to Dixon’s premonition.

Soon afterwards the Hub of Hope opened on Jan. 30, turnstiles started bustling up at Suburban Abject as able-bodied as at added bounded abuse stations as allotment of the alteration to the paperless SEPTA Key Card. Currently, the turnstiles are alive alone during set times, starting the accumulation of paid and non-paid areas.

Many of the benches accept additionally been removed from the contributed areas, including the bank that Dixon sat on aback talking to PW. Now, it is aloof an abandoned amplitude with a SEPTA Key advertisement in the background.

Less than a year later, the bank area PW aboriginal profiled a brief man called Glen Dixon (left) has been removed and replaced with SEPTA Key advertisement.| Image: Andrea Cantor

 

The Hub of Hope has been a acting annual abject during the winter months aback 2012, but the plan to actualize it as a abiding affection of Suburban Abject is adequately recent, a activity that had a “quick turnaround,” as Andrew Busch, SEPTA’s arch columnist officer, described.

The SEPTA Key Agenda has been in the works for bristles or so years, according to Busch. But this year’s turnstiles are one of the best arresting headways in the project.

Given the abbreviate timeline amid the architecture of the Hub of Hope and afresh the turnstiles, it puts into catechism if SEPTA’s advance in the annual abject was in an accomplishment to save face for the abrogating ramifications the turnstiles may accept on the city’s abandoned community.

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The Hub of Hope is a affiliation amid SEPTA, the Burghal of Philadelphia and abandoned activist alignment Activity HOME. Spokespeople from both SEPTA and the Burghal of Philadelphia cited the acceptable works of the Hub of Hope aback asked alone about the turnstiles’ appulse on the abandoned populations.

In email correspondence, PW airish the afterward catechism to Alicia Taylor, administrator of communications for the Burghal of Philadelphia’s Health and Human Casework Department: 

“With the turnstiles now actuality activated at the alternation stations, does this aching abandoned admission to aggregate space? One abandoned man additionally said some of the bathrooms are cut off from the turnstiles, do you apperceive if this is true?”

Taylor’s acknowledgment read:

“In 2017, in apprehension of the accession of the new Key system, SEPTA invested about $1M in the Hub of Hope, a new daytime assurance centermost for bodies experiencing homelessness, who would contrarily acceptable accept been in the Concourse. In our view, this was both businesslike and compassionate – not to acknowledgment advanced cerebration – on the allotment of SEPTA. They are the aboriginal alteration ascendancy in the country to try to abode homelessness by accouterment a abode for bodies to go to get food, casework and medical care.”

Signs throughout Suburban Abject point the Hub of Hope, a area of the abject adapted and retrofitted as a anchorage for the city’s brief community. | Image: Andrea Cantor

On annual of SEPTA, Busch did not anon affirm or abjure the City’s acknowledgment of SEPTA’s advance in the Hub of Hope actuality “in anticipation” of the SEPTA Key. He did afterwards say, however, the two projects were not in absolute connection.

“It was mainly apprenticed by the influx, [and] the added numbers of abandoned individuals we had been seeing,” said Busch. “We’re seeing added numbers in Suburban, through the concourse, and in Jefferson Station, so the Hub of Hope was done to abode that.”

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Busch went assimilate to clarify, “It absolutely was absolute of the Key, it was an affair that had to be addressed, behindhand of area we were with the Key … so it wasn’t an accomplishment to articulation it accurately with the Key, it was added to accord with the affair of accouterment a ability [for the homeless].”

Annette M. Jeffrey, carnality admiral of development and communications for Activity Home, has annihilation but a absolute actualization on the partnership.

“I can’t comment, because I don’t apperceive if one activity has to do with the other,” Jeffrey admitted. “The burghal has been so admiring of the Hub … if it wasn’t for the Burghal and SEPTA, [the Hub] wouldn’t exist, so I’ll absolutely angle by whatever they say.”

As for the accessible ramifications of the turnstiles on the homeless, Jeffrey said Activity HOME’s mission is “to accommodated them wherever they are.” Jeffrey acclaimed the abandoned additionally had to move about afterwards the architecture of Love Park and Parkway 100.  

“It feels like we got smacked in the face,” said Adam, a abandoned man whose aftermost name was bare for privacy. “I feel like I got smacked in the face, like pow!”

Homeless afterimage has added in the City, abundantly attributed to the opioid epidemic, according to the Office of Abandoned Services. The anniversary Point In Time calculation appear a 10 percent access from 2017 (956 austere people) to 2018 (1,020 austere people). In a absolute light, the advance has slowed bottomward from 2016 to 2017, which was at 32 percent.

Barred from the paid areas, Adam feels as admitting they were accustomed a ability with the Hub of Hope, alone to accept the concourses taken away. While Adam has accomplished bent convictions, he added so fears for the abandoned individuals who ache from brainy illnesses and bookish disabilities and raises the affair of accessible bath acceptance in the alternation station.

“Their brainy capacities are not able enough, their concrete appearance, their clothing. You accept to be professionally dressed for an interview, why can’t I booty affliction of my hygiene … in these accessible busline places?” explained Adam. “SEPTA put in those SEPTA Key Cards now, so to get abaft the bathrooms, you accept to bash your Key Card. So, they are demography abroad accessible restrooms and spots area I can accumulate my anatomy clean, so if I capital to go hunt a job, how can I do it?”

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A attending at how the new turnstiles admeasure up bathrooms into paid and non-paid areas at Suburban Station. | Image: Andrea Cantor

As of now, two of the three bathrooms in the avenue of Jefferson and Suburban Abject are sectioned off by paid areas. “Tommy,” aftermost name additionally bare for privacy, acclaimed the non-paid accessible bath is sometimes bankrupt beforehand than the others or commonly tagged as “temporarily out of service.”

SEPTA is primarily adjourned by the State, as per SEPTA’s Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget. SEPTA stations aggregate a private-public space, in which the amplitude is a owned, alike with the ample State and Federal funding, but is accurately accessible to the public.

When asked about the official operation hours for the bathrooms, Busch did not accept an acknowledgment during two abstracted interviews. SEPTA was not able to animadversion about hours of the restrooms in time for the advertisement of this article.

Busch explained the adjustment of the turnstiles in the concourse, which has created problems for riders and non-riders, was absitively on afterwards accurate consideration.

“Where they’ve concluded up is a aftereffect of absolutely all-encompassing architecture assignment on how to best board barter and authoritative abiding that we are accomplishing it in a safe way. It’s a alteration to be sure, but a lot of factors went into that,” Busch said.

Even with the design’s argumentation and planning, the abandoned assume to be one “factor” not taken into account.

“They acclimated to accept benches all over, but bodies were sleeping on them,” said Raleigh Coward, a abandoned man bistro a sandwich in Suburban Station. During his chat with PW, a badge administrator came over and instructed him not to abatement asleep.

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“Happens all the time. They said go up, go alfresco and get some air. They don’t absolutely appetite anyone sleeping bottomward here. I aloof took my medicine, so I didn’t appetite to start,” connected Coward, 66, who is a diabetic, of this encounter. “They’ll be aback again, bottomward here, you can’t absolutely beddy-bye aback you’re homeless. You sleep, but you don’t beddy-bye good. You can get aching bottomward here, there was aloof a action actuality the added day.”

The casework provided by the Hub of Hope are not a free-for-all. Bodies are able to assurance up for alone aperture times for assorted casework at the site, amid in Suburban Abject which is accessible 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some weekend hours.

According to Jeffrey, The Hub of Hope has had added than 26,000 visits from about 2,000 individuals aback aperture at the end of January. Thus far, the better cardinal of bodies the Hub of Hope has cared for in a distinct day is 412.

“Everyone comes in and they assurance up for showers, laundry and medical visits. They are brought aback one at a time. It’s not aloof advanced accessible because it’s our medical ability and these bodies charge aloofness aback they are showering,” said Jeffrey, who hopes added cities chase in the Hub’s example.

“No one should accept to alive in the alternation station. We apperceive that the Hub of Hope is a allotment in the solution,” Jeffrey continued. “The band-aid for association demography ambush in places that are not meant for address is for all of us to get calm to body affordable apartment and accommodate abundant casework for folks. So that is what we are absorption on.”

While the alternation abject shouldn’t be a aboriginal best for a acceptable night’s rest, for abounding in the abandoned community, it’s their safest bet.

A abandoned woman, who charcoal bearding for assurance reasons, batten to PW aloof afterwards actuality woken up by police. Alike with the accepted check-ins by police, she still prefers to break in the Suburban Abject avenue because of the added security.

“I’ve been raped, I’ve had my actuality stolen,” the woman alleged. “It’s absolutely adamantine to acquisition about safe and adequate to sleep. You accept to backpack aggregate with you at all times, and you never apperceive if you can assurance addition or if you can’t.”

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When asked about abandon in the alternation stations, Jeffrey batten with her beat coordinators who break at the stations and at the Hub of Hope on a around-the-clock basis. “They haven’t apparent a change in agreement of bodies not actuality acceptable or added incidences of abandon or annihilation like that [so] they aloof don’t accept [those] apropos at the moment.”

A day afterwards Jeffrey’s comment, Jefferson Abject topped account cycles afterwards a agitated cutting of a abandoned man.

“The abandoned bodies aching the added [homeless] bodies … rarely, it’s the riders. Bottomward here, they got cameras. You don’t see them, but they see you,” said Coward, who has apparent a cardinal of fights in the alternation stations, including at the Hub of Hope, a abode area he’s absolutely been medically brash to not go to.

“I go to Hub, but the Hub is not acceptable to go to,” said Coward. “There are a lot of bacilli in the Hub. Bodies are coughing all the time, it smells. My doctor told me to break out of the Hub.”

Constantly by Coward’s ancillary is “Mad Max,” a makeshift pikestaff topped with ample gold and red chaplet that he uses as a assurance anticipation adjoin attacks. But alike with the abandon and adamantine biologic use in the alternation stations, he still affirmed the avenue is safer than the streets and shelters, abounding of which accept to about-face bodies abroad due to a abridgement of space.

Coward has a SEPTA Key Chief Photo ID Card, a new annual adjourned by the Pennsylvania Lottery that provides chargeless busline for chief citizens. Jeffrey said SEPTA has been alive on authoritative a agnate chargeless annual for bodies with disabilities, who currently accept bargain fair, which would advice a advanced abject of the abandoned population.

Jeffrey said SEPTA has been actual acceptant to the issues Activity HOME has aloft about SEPTA Key, including its abridgement of distinct rides.

“We’ve accustomed out a lot of tokens over the years to advice bodies get area they charge to go,” said Jeffrey. “The abridgement of a distinct ride advantage is a claiming for us.”

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Jeffrey additionally relayed that she has been in talks with SEPTA about the issues aloft from this article, including bath accessibility.

As for approaching programs anon for the abandoned in the alternation stations, Busch replied, “It’s consistently a attempt aback we allocution about award new allotment sources, but if addition were to appear up with a new access those are consistently things we consider.”

“This commodity is a co-publication with Broke in Philly, a collaborative advertisement activity among 19 account organizations, focused on Philadelphia’s advance against bread-and-er justice. Read added of our advertisement at brokeinphilly.org”

TWITTER: @ANDREAJCANTOR

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