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