Where the Sidewalk Ends

A "homeless cafe" fills a hole in a broken system.

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 6 | Posted Dec. 31, 2008

Share this Story:

"I'd rather sleep on the subway in the freezing cold than be in the shelter," he says. "At Sunday Breakfast [a shelter on 13th and Vine], you have to take a shower to get a bed. You have to walk in a line of men butt naked to get to the sleeping end. Reminds me of Auschwitz."

Joe has been homeless since he moved to Philly in 2004.

"You have some people in the system so long, they're used to it," he says. "I'm not."


About midnight, tables get broken down and lights shut off. Misty's sitting on the floor talking with Danny. Earlier, I'd asked her about the biggest problem with the system, and she laughed the kind of laugh that says, Where do I begin?

Philadelphia used to be a model for reducing homelessness. Now we have the highest numbers in 10 years and they're rising.

"I don't know what happened, really," says Sparks. "We were on front of the line, doing things right. Then other cities took off. It's getting out of hand the number of people we aren't able to serve."

It'll stay quiet at the cafe until 7 a.m., when everyone will get locked out again. Meanwhile, some people huddle around a small television. Some slump against a wall. The rest sit upright in chairs, staring into the dark.

Prev| Page: 1 2
Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend

COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 6 of 6
Report Violation

1. DR said... on Dec 31, 2008 at 05:55AM

“Bethesda Project has been serving the homeless of Philadelphia for thirty years. They have an unbroken tradition of treating this vulnerable population with respectful compassion. God bless their efforts.”

Report Violation

2. Tom said... on Dec 31, 2008 at 06:51AM

“Bethesda Project is such a special organization, so focused on the most desparate of our brothers and sisters - the Center City homeless. Everyone in Philadelphia should try to find the way to suppoert Bethesda in what it does.”

Report Violation

3. Elizzabeth said... on Jan 5, 2009 at 07:32PM

“Misty is an amazing women and well supported by Bethesda Project, which teaches each of us how valuable every person is. As a volunteer for the past 15 years I feel so lucky to know the wonderful perple of Bethesda, residents, homeless, volunteers and employees.”

Report Violation

4. Michele said... on Jan 6, 2009 at 01:48PM

“My friend Linda and I have been volunteering at Bethesda's Cafe for more than a year. Misty is the glue that holds it all together. The other staff are loving and caring and treat everyone with dignity and respect. The cafe residents are a wonderful group of diverse individuals and we continue to learn from them weekly. It our highlight of the week to visit and serve our friends at the Cafe.”

Report Violation

5. Bro. William Humphrey said... on May 12, 2009 at 04:27AM

“I have writen A most visionary program, that if implemented could end homelessness as we have grown to accept and know it.I do not have the skills to write A grant, I however as A long time business person who built an international company from scrach, I am much older now and in fair health, I spend my time helping in an un-orginized way, my resources are limeted, But I have A vision that with my ability to show others how to make money and become empowered, I can buy real-estate rehab. same, under A {501c3}provide full time housing I just need some real help from someone who is not filled with either greed are fear, This is my first time doing this:: Are You'll Out There???
bro. humphrey”

Report Violation

6. Bro. William Humphrey said... on May 12, 2009 at 04:27AM

“I have writen A most visionary program, that if implemented could end homelessness as we have grown to accept and know it.I do not have the skills to write A grant, I however as A long time business person who built an international company from scrach, I am much older now and in fair health, I spend my time helping in an un-orginized way, my resources are limeted, But I have A vision that with my ability to show others how to make money and become empowered, I can buy real-estate rehab. same, under A {501c3}provide full time housing I just need some real help from someone who is not filled with either greed are fear, This is my first time doing this:: Are You'll Out There???
bro. humphrey”

ADD COMMENT

Rate:
(HTML and URLs prohibited)