31 Aug Give Dignity – Dignity Housing
Dignity Housing is a nonprofit that provides quality transitional and permanent supportive housing with supportive services in pursuit of fulling our mission to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that confronts low-income families and individuals in the City of Philadelphia.
Over thirty years ago, Dignity’s founder and first Executive Director Alicia Christian, formerly homeless herself, had a conversation with a homeless man who explained what it was like to be without a home: “The first thing you lose is your dignity. On the streets, in abandoned buildings, you can’t meet your basic needs in privacy or safely.” Our name is Dignity Housing and we make sure everyone who walks through our doors is treated with dignity, is provided a home maintained with dignity, and receives services that help build their personal dignity.
Every day, Dignity Housing receives referrals for families and individuals who are homeless, desperate for a place to call home, and looking for help to make sure they never end up in the same situation again. With 26% of individuals living in poverty in Philadelphia, often working minimum wage jobs if they are lucky enough to be employed, all it takes is one month of job loss, one car in need of repair, or one large medical bill, to cause a person to miss a rent payment and soon find themselves homeless. Many of the residents at Dignity Housing are fleeing domestic violence or recovering from substance addiction, often arriving with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
The children in our program face variety of obstacles to healthy development, including learning disabilities and mental health disorders, as a result of experiencing homelessness. As children age, they fear that they will be seen as different among their peers, and in girls, they are more likely to exhibit anxiety, depression or withdrawal.
This is why it is our wish to collaborate with the Wish Wall Foundation to provide every young girl at Dignity Housing with a hope chest. With personal hope chests, items such as headphones, journals, snacks, books, and toiletries will help make their teenage years a little easier. The hope chests will give them something of their own, something that they can take with them after Dignity, and something that will let them know they are not forgotten.
We know these gifts and a continued relationship with the Wishwall Foundation will have a great impact on the individual lives of the homeless served at Dignity Housing. Other programs at Dignity Housing include an after school program for the Dignity children, a computer lab that is free and open to the public, ongoing beautification projects to maintain and enhance our properties, and a fundraising campaign to build a playground for the Dignity families.