What a year 2018 turned out to be! A year of challenges and also successes happening within a climate of division, separation and exclusion. It has been a year that has polarized our country yet helped us remember our purpose in serving all — no matter their race, religion, educational level or housing status.

This year, the Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) team celebrated inclusion on many different levels. The city of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and city shelters changed their admission policies to include fathers as part of families entering shelters. HHI further developed the inclusion of family medical information into the CHOP electronic medical record system during CHOP Night medical visits in our partner shelters, enhancing the continuity and improving healthcare for children.

Several art exhibits and art programs in the community brought the inclusion of new community partners and showcased the artistic talents of the mothers at People’s Emergency Center. In our annual report, you will learn about all of these activities and more.

I — along with medical adviser Melissa Bennett, MD, and social work trainer Melissa Johnson, MSW — wish to thank all of our dedicated volunteers, supporters, donors and the families we so humbly serve. Thank you for your committed service and being with us on this continuing journey. Best wishes for a 2019 filled with health and happiness.

HHI program stats 2018


In 2018, HHI trained 31 new volunteers and 25 of these volunteers are currently active. Our program volunteers:

  • 21 Families Forward SPARK volunteers
  • 20 St. Barnabas SPARK volunteers
  • 12 PEC SPARK volunteers
  • 254 CHOP Night volunteers

CHOP Nights

  • 19 visits*
  • 139 total children seen
  • 114 were seen by medical team
  • 104 were seen by dental team
  • 323 volunteers+

* fewer visits than usual due to cancellation of three visits (St. Barnabas renovations, snow, flu) and the move of Jane Addams Place in July

+ repeat volunteers counted for each night they participated

SPARK stats

At People’s Emergency Center:

  • 16 sessions
  • 66 children participated an average of 3 times (range = 1 – 8)
  • Average age = 9 years old At Jane Addams Place (January – June):
  • 22 sessions v74 children participated an average of 2 times (range= 1 – 12)
  • Average age = 9 years old At St. Barnabas:
  • 34 sessions v72 children participated an average of 3 times (range= 1 – 14)
  • Average age = 7 years old At Families Forward:
  • 19 sessions (July – December)
  • 83 children participated an average of 3 times (range= 1 – 10)
  • Average age = 8 years old

PEC Women's Wellness

  • 42 sessions (including 29 instructor-led knitting classes, 12 health education workshops and 1 special museum visit for moms and kids)
  • 43 women participated an average of 5 times (range = 1– 25)

Family Fun and Fitness Day

  • 40 family members from PEC, Families Forward and St. Barnabas
  • 32 volunteers, plus 18 health fair volunteers
  • 56 friends/family of volunteers

Contributed by: Karen Hudson, PhD, MSW, LSW