Press Release


InBox: City Posts Formal Notice for Resolution of Protest Camps

City Posts Formal Notice for Resolution of Protest Camps
  PHILADELPHIA – City officials today posted formal notice at the protest camps on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and on Ridge Avenue that the camps must resolve no later than Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 9 a.m.

This is the second such posting for the Parkway camp. After the first, on July 10, Mayor Kenney postponed the action and personally interceded in the negotiations in order to reach an amicable resolution. “After several weeks of face-to-face discussions, and after more than two months of concerted efforts by our administration, I have come to the conclusion that further negotiations would be fruitless,” said Mayor Kenney. “I take this step again with a heavy heart, as a last resort, and in recognition of the growing health and safety concerns at the sites.

“As we have said from the onset, we respect the right of people to protest peacefully, and fully share the residents’ concerns about the lack of affordable housing,” the Mayor continued. “But we have also been clear that the encampment is not a long term solution. When I stepped into these discussions, I voiced the hope that a resolution was possible. I no longer harbor such hope.

“The continued shifting of camp leaders’ demands, and the fact that some of their repeated demands are out of the City’s control, or unachievable in the time frame that they demand, all contribute to this difficult decision,” the Mayor said. “I again thank our external partners who devoted many hours towards a solution and thank our Parkway neighbors and the Fairmount Sports Association for their patience during this period, as well as the community near the Ridge Avenue camp. Despite this outcome, my administration’s larger commitment to enacting meaningful reforms that help keep people in their homes, expand affordable housing options for those with low or no income and disabilities, and improve pathways to home ownership in the City of Philadelphia–especially for communities of color–will not waver.”

Throughout the negotiations, teams of homeless outreach workers continued to talk with and engage those people who were interested. On the Parkway, this included three weeks of Homeless Connect, an event with several service providers on site to let people know what options are available to them. Teams succeeded in getting more than 80 people into emergency, temporary housing, safe havens and the COVID Prevention Space. This includes several couples who have been housed together. However, outreach workers faced continued difficulties in being allowed to connect with residents of the camp, and the City now concludes that further outreach at the site is no longer productive. Outreach conducted at the camp on Ridge Avenue also had limited success.

“PHA, the City, and the encampment leaders all agree that everyone deserves decent housing and there is an affordable housing crisis. However, the encampment is not the solution. The encampment leaders  unreasonable demands would have required PHA to violate federal policies or regulations and that is not acceptable,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority. “PHA is committed to the work we have planned with the Sharswood community and want to thank them as well as the Brewerytown Sharswood  Neighborhood  Advisory Committee for their patience and their continued support. PHA remains dedicated to serving our residents and to our mission of providing affordable housing throughout the city.” 

During the negotiations, the City, along with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, committed to a number of concrete actions, including but not limited to:

  • Sanctioned Encampments: The City is willing to consider establishing a temporary sanctioned encampment at another site, but it must have the support of the community residents and the District Council member for that use.
  • Tiny House Villages: The City agrees to support the establishment of a Tiny House Village this year. It will not replace any existing or future low-income housing funds.
  • Creation of new permanent housing units: The Office of Homeless Services (OHS) has issued an RFP dedicating ESG funds for Shared Housing and Project Based Rapid Rehousing. Another proposal for Shallow Rent will be forthcoming. The total funds on the table through these sources is more than $7M dollars.
  • The City agreed to and has opened 2 COVID prevention sites offering a total of 260 beds. To date, 17 people from JDT Camp have entered; more referrals are pending.
  • The City has made shelter, safe haven and treatment beds available. More than 80 individuals from the camp have been housed to date.
  • Support of a Community Land Trust: The City is willing to work with Philadelphia Housing Action members on establishing a Community Land Trust or Trusts in Philadelphia.
  • PHA Police: The Kenney Administration has announced and begun several measures to improve police department accountability. In order to address concerns about PHA Police conduct, PHA will fully participate in the police reform initiative.
  • Moratorium on Sales of PHA Properties: PHA agrees to institute a Property Sale Moratorium on new fair market value property sales via auction, brokers or direct sales until completion of independent study not to exceed 9 months.
  • Community Concerns about PHA Scattered Sites: PHA will designate a Scattered Site Ombudsman to serve as primary point of contact for inquiries or complaints regarding vacant PHA owned units and to administer the CCRP.
  • Need for continued collaboration: The City has committed to continuing to work with Philadelphia Housing Action on homeless and treatment system reforms and the expansion of available permanent housing.

During negotiations last week, leaders of the protest camp verbally committed to drawing up a written agreement reflecting these and other commitments by the City and PHA, as well as their own commitment to resolve the camp. That document, however, did not accurately reflect the written offers that the City had previously provided during the negotiations. The three organizations that created the camp stated their intention to remain at both sites unless the City and PHA agreed to all of their demands. This statement cemented the City’s perception that further negotiations would be futile and led to today’s decision to post formal notice.


InBox: LGBTQ Community Celebrates Pride Month in Philadelphia with Events Throughout the City

PHILADELPHIA — June is LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) Pride Month, and Philadelphia is celebrating with dozens of events throughout the city. The 2019 celebrations mark the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which took place in June 1969.

The City’s Office of LGBT Affairs helps to coordinate local Pride activities, and this year they are also partnering with the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Free Library of Philadelphia to explore intersectionality between Philadelphia’s LGBTQ and immigrant communities, while also engaging broader audiences—regardless of how they identify.

“Pride Month is a chance for us to celebrate the history and accomplishments of the LGBTQ community, as well as the progress we’ve made toward building a more inclusive society for all people,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “It is also a time for allies to double-down on our support for our LGBTQ neighbors as they continue to face negative rhetoric from Washington, as well as the ongoing challenges of ignorance, hatred, and bias. We must remain unified as one community as we work to ensure true equality for LGBTQ individuals in Philadelphia, across the country, and around the world.”

“It is a great honor to be part of Philadelphia’s Pride celebrations for 2019—a year with great historical significance for our community as we mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall,” added Amber Hikes, Executive Director of the Office of LGBT Affairs. “The LGBTQ Rights Movement, which gained prominence 50 years ago through the activism of those present at the Stonewall Riots, has had a challenging past—one that erased the role of queer and transgender people of color in these historic moments. That is why I am so proud of the steps we’ve taken here in Philadelphia to build a more inclusive community. Our own More Color More Pride flag will fly outside of City Hall as a symbol of our commitment to lifting the voices of those who have been marginalized, and the programming happening throughout the month will help elevate those voices and stories as well.”

Events scheduled for Pride Month include:

LGBTQ State of the Union
June 3 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
The Kimmel Center
The second annual LGBTQ State of the Union is a forum for LGBTQ Philadelphians to directly engage with the city’s LGBTQ organizations. Executive Directors and board leaders of the LGBTQ+ community will deliver seven-minute lightning talks on their recent accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year. Community members can meet with organizational leaders and board chairs in breakout groups to ask questions and share ideas face to face. This event is free, but tickets are required.

Pride Flag Raising and Pride in the Park
June 6 | Pride Flag Raising, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Pride in the Park, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
City Hall Flag Pole (North Apron) and LOVE Park
The Office of LGBT Affairs kicks off Pride Month with its annual flag raising ceremony at City Hall. The ceremony will include live performances, dynamic speakers, music, and an appearance from Mayor Kenney. It will also mark the opening of the Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary art exhibits at three galleries around the city, including City Hall, the Free Library, and 12 Gates Art. Following the flag raising, the Office will host Pride in the Park at LOVE Park—featuring games, food trucks, a DJ, and other live entertainment.

Philly Lights Up Rainbow
June 9 and June 30 | Evening hours
The Ben Franklin Bridge, Boathouse Row, PECO Crown Lights, the light poles on North Broad Street, the South Street Bridge, and other buildings across the city will light up with the iconic rainbow colors of the LGBTQ flag for Pride Month.

PhiladelphiaFamily Pride Picnic and Arts Festival
June 22 | 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Lovett Memorial Library, 6945 Germantown Avenue
The Office of LGBT Affairs, Philadelphia Family Pride, and the Mt. Airy Art Garage celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with the Philly Family Pride Picnic and Arts Festival. There will be music, food, fine art and handcraft, and resource tables to provide support and services to LGBTQ youth and parents.

To Belong: A Community Conversation
June 27 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Parkway Central Library, The Heim Center, 1901 Vine Street
In recognition of both Immigrant Heritage Month and Pride Month, gather for facilitated conversations that explore what it means to belong. The event is co-sponsored by the Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Office of LGBT Affairs, and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Free Library Ongoing Programming
The Free Library of Philadelphia is celebrating Pride Month with a series of programming running throughout the month of June. Neighborhood libraries across the city will host poetry events, film screenings, LGBTQ+/gender-diverse “rainbow” storytimes, and more in celebration and support of the LGBTQ community.

To view a full list of events, visit the Pride Month event spotlight page on phila.gov.


Project HOME | None of us are home until all of us are home®

Project HOME announced that it raised a total of $10 million at its 30th Anniversary Gala at the Marriott Downtown Philadelphia on April 16, 2019. Attendees and committed citizens donated $3.5 million leading up to the gala. During the event, more than 1,400 civic and business leaders, philanthropists, and young adults had the opportunity to make additional gifts to Project HOME in multiples of 30, with Jon Bon Jovi providing a $300,000 gift from the JBJ Soul Foundation. Lynne and Harold Honickman, who were honored with a lifetime achievement award during the gala, committed an additional $6 million to help Project HOME reach the $10 million mark.

1400 Philadelphia business leaders, politicians, philanthropists, supporters and Project HOME volunteers came together to celebrate thirty years of work against chronic homelessness. Since 1989, when Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon founded Project HOME they have 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.

Honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their tireless fight against homelessness and support of Project HOME were Lynne and Harold Honickman. Which includes the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs in North Philadelphia . “One of the most important lessons of the last three decades is that no one person can do this alone,’ said Jon Bon Jovi. “The mission of ending homelessness and ensuring that everyone has a place to live…it takes everyone and what I like to call, “The Power of We’.”

“When Project HOME began 30 years ago, we couldn’t have imagined the impact it would have thanks to the support of so many generous and visionary individuals,” said Sister Mary Scullion, Project HOME co-founder and Executive Director. During the gala, Sister Mary and Joan Dawson McConnon laid out a five-year plan focused on three core areas – increasing and preserving housing, expanding education and workforce development programs, and expanding outreach for chronically street homeless individuals. .

To read More about Project HOME head on over to their website. To see more photos from the event head to Philly Style Magazine and CBSPhilly, as well as in the July issue of Philly Mag.


Press Release: Pokémon GO at Philly Free Streets on Oct. 28

Pokémon GO adds new ways to explore neighborhoods
at Philly Free Streets on Oct. 28
PHILADELPHIA-  The City of Philadelphia and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have partnered with Niantic, Inc. to bring Pokémon GO to Philly Free Streets, a program that temporarily closes streets to cars, inviting people to walk, bike, and play.

The second Philly Free Streets – slated for October 28 – will include a tour of the PokéStops in Pokémon GO between El Centro de Oro in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Fairhill and Philadelphia’s Historic District. The initiative aims to encourage people to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods using the innovative augmented reality experience of the popular real-world game based on the iconic Pokémon brand. Philly Free Streets participants who visit PokéStops will qualify to win a Pokémon GO poster, based on original loading screen artwork, while supplies last.

In addition, Philly Free Streets will offer a paper passport program option, ensuring that the fun is accessible to everyone, even those without cell phones or the mobile game.

Niantic, Inc.—the developer and publisher of Pokémon GO—and Knight Foundation recently announced an initiative to use technology to promote civic engagement in communities across the United States, including Philadelphia. The initiative will support efforts to get neighbors outside and exploring their city through activities and events, such as Philly Free Streets.

“This initiative uses technology to build on the goal of Philly Free Streets: to encourage people to explore our diverse neighborhoods and connect with their city and each other. Through it, we hope to experiment with new ways of increasing city vibrancy, while creating lessons in civic engagement for communities across the country,” said Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation program director for Philadelphia.

Kelley Yemen, Director of Complete Streets for the City of Philadelphia, commented, “Philly Free Streets is an exciting opportunity for Philadelphia to come together and re-imagine our streets. We are thrilled to have support from partners—like Knight Foundation—who see this potential and are committed to realizing it. We look forward to having Pokémon GO programming along the route to promote engagement during the Philly Free Streets program.”

“Philly Free Streets is an incredible program that is aligned with Niantic’s vision to create ‘adventures on foot’ and to bring communities together in the real world,” said Vikram Grover, senior director of business development at Niantic, Inc. “We’re looking forward to continuing to help feature and encourage exploration and engagement with Philadelphia neighborhoods’ diverse histories, cultures and vital public institutions in Pokémon GO.

Philly Free Streets will take place from 8AM to 1PM on Saturday, October 28.  The 7-mile roundtrip route, between 3rd & Chestnut and 5th & Indiana, will create a car-free connection between Philadelphia’s Historic District and several diverse neighborhoods, then north to El Centro de Oro (“The Golden Block”) in the Fairhill neighborhood of North Philadelphia.  A map of the route and more information can be found at http://phillyfreestreets.com/.

Led by the Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems (oTIS), Philly Free Streets highlights active transportation options, as well as neighborhood walkability and its positive impacts on public health, the environment, business, and the community.  The October 2017 Philly Free Streets program is generously sponsored by Visit PHILADELPHIA and AARP Pennsylvania.


Inaugural Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival to be held Earth Day Weekend

Inaugural Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival to be held Earth Day Weekend4-12-2017 12-40-58 PM

Showcasing a juried slate of thought-provoking, exceptional new environmentally-focused shorts and features, the Festival launches as the first of its kind in the City of Brotherly Love


Philadelphia, PA, April 12, 2017 – The Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival is proud to announce the full film line-up for the inaugural Festival, which launches Earth Day weekend, April 21 – April 23, at the historic Prince Theater in downtown Philadelphia.



Opening on April 21st with Fisher Stevens’ Before the Flood and closing on April 23rd with James Cameron’s Avatar, the Festival will showcase dozens of new shorts and features from international and domestic filmmakers on the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day weekend.


“Philadelphia is brimming with passionate people who care about environmentally focused issues like farm-to-table eating, sustainability and environmental justice.” said Executive Director, Debra Wolf Goldstein. “We wanted to do something big and impactful, and what could be more impactful than utilizing these visually stunning and moving films to engage and inspire appreciation and conversation about our environment?”


Festival founders, Debra Wolf Goldstein and Alexandra Drobac Diagne are thrilled to integrate the Festival into Philadelphia’s vibrant arts, culture, and green scene for years to come.


“The idea of bringing an environmental film festival to Philadelphia struck a chord in me like lightning! It seemed like an obvious need and long overdue for a vibrant major city such as ours,” said Alexandra Drobac Diagne, Artistic Director. “I am honored to be part of such a global passion and aim to program carefully curated, engaging and visually beautiful films from around the world each year. We have a strong lineup for our inaugural fest.”

4-12-2017 12-51-06 PM (Custom)


The Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival will honor Fisher Stevens, Director of the critically acclaimed climate change documentary Before the Flood, on Opening Night with the Festival’s first Environmental Advocacy Award, presented by founding sponsor The Nature Conservancy.

4-12-2017 12-48-05 PM

Two prestigious environmental organizations — The Nature Conservancy and the Media, Pa.-based Natural Lands Trust — provided critical funding for this inaugural year of the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival. The Wyncote Foundation and Drexel University also provided major support, along with an extensive list of other environmentally-minded donors and community partners.  All are truly making this new Festival a must-attend cultural event in the City of Brotherly Love.


Weekend passes and single tickets are on sale now and may be purchased through the Festival website www.philaenvirofilmfest.org/festival/buy-tickets/ or in-person at the Prince Theater box office (open MondaySaturday from noon to 5:00 pm).


The Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival will be a welcome addition to our city’s vibrant arts & culture scene, offering entertaining, informative, and inspiring environmental films for years to come.



For more information, visit www.philaenvirofilmfest.org
Facebook: @PhilaEnviroFilmFest
Instagram: @PhilaEnviroFilmFest
Twitter: @PhilEnvFilmFest