This Giving Tuesday, Shared Public Spaces (SPS) provided an opportunity to give more than money in the pursuit to keep homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Philadelphia. More than 200 attendees gave their commitment, expertise, and time to “Addressing Philadelphia Homelessness: Healthier Streets, Better Business,” an event designed to explore how homelessness has affected the local business and hospitality industry and discover innovative solutions.

Shared Public Spaces—a public-private workgroup comprised of leaders from business, hospitality, and civic communities—was established in 2016 to work on proactive and compassionate approaches to chronic street homelessness in Philadelphia. The group, led by OHS, considers ways to ensure the city’s public spaces remain clean, open and available for all to enjoy. Public education events like “Healthier Streets, Better Business” are just one way it works toward its mission.

Darryll Adams, Managing Director of SPS member Loews Philadelphia Hotel, opened the program by reinforcing his and the hotel’s commitment to helping find solutions to homelessness.

“Every business can be impacted by homelessness,” said Adams. “It’s a human imperative and, I believe, a priority for us all.”

OHS Interim Executive Director David Holloman joined Adams in welcoming the crowd, stressing the importance of building partnerships like SPS and encouraged everyone to play a role in finding solutions.

“Shared Public Spaces brings together unlikely partners, but the truth is, we all have a role to play in ending homelessness in Philadelphia,” said Holloman. “It’s because of partnerships like these that OHS can engage people from every corner of the city in our work.”

The event served as an opportunity for John McNichol, SPS Chair and President & CEO of Pennsylvania Convention Center, to unveil “Scan to Share,” a new SPS fundraising initiative that enables anyone with a smartphone to make an immediate donation toward programs and services. The Scan to Share initiative will consist of postcards that will be placed in businesses and elsewhere throughout the city. The cards are designed to raise awareness and share how members of the public or business community can be part of the solution.

One way to be part of the solution is to scan the QR code on the reverse to make an immediate donation, which will then be matched by PHL Cares, to provide housing and services. Funds will be distributed among 70 nonprofit, faith-based, and government partners, and donations will go towards permanent housing, rental assistance, social services, and intensive outreach.

As the holidays approach, McNichol declared that Scan to Share will offer Philadelphians and visitors the chance to support individuals and families facing homelessness this winter.

“I’ve seen visitors to our city and how they react to unsheltered individuals. They step back, they don’t want to be asked for money,” McNichol said. “Not only is there nothing to fear, but there are real solutions out there, and we all have a role in making those solutions a reality.”

In addition to the announcement of Scan to Share, the event included a panel featuring individuals with lived and professional experience with homelessness. Panelists included:

  • Lisa Colton, Ph.D., Director of Crisis Related Systems, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services (DBHIDS)
  • Ken Divers, Director of Outreach Programs, SEPTA
  • Dave Holloman, Executive Director Office of Homeless Services
  • Shani A. Meacham, JD, Senior Vice President, Programs, Valley Youth House
  • Jamie Colleen Miller, Survivor & Board Member, Women Against Abuse
  • Candice Player, Vice President of Outreach, Project HOME
  • Mell Wells, President, One Day at a Time

Attendees also had the opportunity to network and visit resource tables hosted by 40 nonprofit organizations dedicated to finding solutions to homelessness and poverty.

To read more about Scan to Share, visit If you see someone in need of shelter, call the outreach line at 215-232-1984, or the city’s crisis line at 988.