Germantown program marks first year of giving help and hope to homeless men

A residential program to assist homeless men in Germantown is marking its first year, touting success in serving more than 50 men.

The nonprofit Depaul House, which opened on April 3, 2009, has assisted 54 men with a comprehensive array of support to move them out of homelessness. Fifteen of the men have graduated into independent living with full employment, said Peggy Robertson, director of development for the facility at 5725 Sprague Street.

Muhammad Prince, 42, of Germantown, who graduated from the program about five months ago, said the program has helped him gain his own apartment and land a job in a Philadelphia Housing Authority training program for plumbing and heating.

"You have a lot of support at Depaul," Prince said. "Overall the social and human care that you get is very good. They give you self-respect."

Robertson said, "I think we've done a god job making the men feel they have a home here. We provide them with the tools and support they need to become independent."

The program, which is located in a former convent, is funded by the City of Philadelphia, private foundations and individuals.

Depaul House hosts meetings of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcohol Anonymous and provides yoga and fatherhood classes among other offerings.

"Some of the men have college degrees or high school diplomas," Robertson said. "Homelessness can be the result of one missed paycheck.