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Friends: We are all facing a significant challenge in our shared public spaces with homelessness and aggressive panhandling. Crafting solutions requires a broad, collaborative response by public agencies, residential, civic nonprofit and business groups. Many conversations are underway to figure out the best way for all of us to work together to address these issues both in the short and long terms. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is something we can do together: connect residents and businesses with the many nonprofits that are already working on these problems. Local service providers could do more to help homeless people if they had more volunteers, resources and money.

To connect concerned residents and businesses with those working on solutions, we are writing now to gauge the interest of your organization in participating in one part of a coordinated response: an effort by Greater Center City residential, civic and business community to help supplement the resources available to charitable and social service groups that are working to help those in need.

We are considering hosting a MAKE REAL CHANGE/HELP THE HOMELESS public event in December 2016 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where more than a dozen non-profit housing and social service providers will be available:

• To explain their programs and services

• To offer ways for individuals and businesses to donate time, food, clothing, furniture and tax-deductible contributions to those who are helping the homeless get off street, stabilize their lives and connect to housing, services and job opportunities.

Through this survey link, we would like you to answer a few basic questions: Is this a good idea? Would your organization be willing to participate by communicating to your members? What is the best time of day to do such an event?

Make Real Change Survey 2016

Thank you for your help.

Elizabeth G. Hersh
Office of Homeless Services
City of Philadelphia

Paul R. Levy
President and CEO
Center City District