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PHILADELPHIA, May 16, 2011 – After years of planning and construction, today Project H.O.M.E.
and Bethesda Project are partnering with Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and Brian
Hudson from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, to unveil Connelly House, the first LEED-
certified, affordable housing facility in Center City, which is named for the philanthropic legacy
of John F. and Josephine C. Connelly, founders of the Connelly Foundation. The two nonprofit
organizations are dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless and formerly homeless Philadelphians,
and worked in partnership for the first time, along with the JBJ Soul Foundation to build a facility that houses 79 men and women.
“Bringing this project to life was a tremendous team effort between Project H.O.M.E., Bethesda Project, the Connelly Foundation, The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. John the Evangelist Church and the local community,” said Sister Mary Scullion, Executive Director of Project H.O.M.E. “It is a great feeling to see all of the hard work and collaboration pay off as we recently filled the last room in Connelly House, which 79 men and women now call home.”
The .18-acre square-shaped site is located in the center of Philadelphia’s business district at 13th and Market Streets. The eight-story building is 63,620 square-feet and consists of 79 single resident units. The building also features a multi-purpose room, a laundry room, an exercise room, multiple kitchens, offices, storage and a lobby/reception area. The building, located behind St. John the Evangelist church, is surrounded by commercial and institutional buildings, including the SEPTA building, Loews hotel, Macy’s, and the PSFS building, among many others.
“It is not often you see an affordable housing facility built in the heart of Center City,” said Father Domenic Rossi, Executive Director of Bethesda Project. “The support this project has received from the community has been remarkable, and illustrates that Philadelphia shares our passion to end homelessness. The Connelly House residents will have close and easy access to transportation and all of the great opportunities Center City offers its residents, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results of this collaboration.”
Another important aspect of the building is that it will be LEED-certified. Environmentally-friendly components of the building include a green roof, highly insulated walls to improve thermal performance, a rainwater collection system for irrigation and non-potable use, high-efficiency mechanical systems and lighting, 20% of materials for the facility are constructed using recycled content and 75% of all demolition materials were recycled. The project is currently seeking Silver LEED Certification status in all six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Material and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process.
In addition to serving as a living space, the new building also houses parish offices and a community room for Project H.O.M.E and Bethesda Project programs. The two parts of the building have separate entrances and are designed to operate independently. The residential component has direct street access and embodies many features and amenities often found in Center City apartment buildings.
“Connelly Foundation has partnered with Project H.O.M.E. since its early efforts toward improving the quality of life of innumerable Philadelphians. Our Founders, John and Josephine Connelly, would be honored to have their names associated with this wonderful new building that will be a place of respite and hope.”
Samir Duncan, a Connelly House resident, said “I feel blessed to be living at Connelly House and I am in love with it here. I see such potential for the residents to form a strong community that will give voice to those who don’t always have a voice—homeless men and women and those suffering from mental illness and recovery.”
About Project H.O.M.E
Since 1989, Project H.O.M.E. has helped more than 8,000 people break the cycle of homelessness and poverty by providing a continuum of care that includes street outreach, supportive housing and comprehensive services that focus on health care, education and employment. The organization also works to prevent homelessness and poverty through comprehensive neighborhood revitalization in North Philadelphia. These efforts include the renovation of vacant or deteriorated houses that are then sold to first-time homebuyers; economic reinvestment along the Ridge Avenue Corridor; adult and youth education and enrichment programs at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs; and community-based health care services. To learn more, visit www.projecthome.org
About Bethesda Project
The mission of Bethesda Project is to find and care for the abandoned poor and to be family with those who have none. Since its founding in 1979, Bethesda Project staff and volunteers have helped single men and women who are homeless in Philadelphia by providing emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, and supportive services designed to help people leave homelessness behind and live a life of human dignity. The organization serves more than 6,000 different individuals annually at 16 sites in and around Center City. For information on how to support Bethesda Project as a volunteer or a donor, please visit www.bethesdaproject.org