July 13, 2020


The Honorable Jim Kenney, Mayor

Liz Hersh, Director of Office of Homeless Services

Brian Abernathy, City Managing Director

Members of City Council

We, the undersigned, are professionals who work with Philadelphians experiencing homelessness.  We sign this letter in support of the James Talib Dean Encampment on the Parkway demands and implore you not to evict its residents.

We are activists, counselors, formerly homeless persons, harm reductionists, outreach workers, peer specialists, residential and treatment support staff, social workers, therapists, and others under the umbrella of social services. We work directly with people in the Philadelphia homeless community.

We bear witness to the caring, mutual aid, survival and resilience taking place at the encampment. We lift up the autonomy and advocacy of this encampment as an alternative to the limited and unsafe options currently available through the Office of Homeless Services. The camp meets needs not currently being met by city systems: housing with the ability to socially distance, community support, resource distribution and a platform for self-advocacy. When houseless members of our community speak, you must listen and change your approach.

According to the Office of Housing and Urban Development, Black Americans are three times more likely to experience homelessness than white Americans. Housing is one way that Black Americans have been historically oppressed. Addressing housing insecurity must be a part of how as governing officials you demonstrate that Black Lives Matter.

Over the past three years, the Office of Homeless Services has continued to impose housing options and evictions on people trying to survive in camps similar to James Talib Dean instead of allowing the residents of these encampments to dictate their own choices. The homeless population continues to grow and homeless persons and advocates have said these evictions are traumatizing and do not lead to housing.

As professionals committed to care and advocacy, we say that continuing this ineffective course of action is unacceptable. The encampment demands are reasonable, just and with your support, attainable.

The James Talib Dean Encampment and the larger #OccupyPHA movement is calling attention to the lack of accessible, self-selected and safe housing in the city of Philadelphia and disproportionately for Black Philadelphians. This call embodies the core values in our field: self determination, dignity and justice.

The housing insecurity of Philadelphians is a multipronged issue encompassing the rising rents, the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of PHA housing units, the lack of subsidized housing, decline in home ownership in places where families have lived for generations, lack of stability in housing, increase in homelessness and lack of client determination and choices in the homeless service system.

Dismantling the collective work by members of the homeless community and their allies in the James Talib Dean Encampment would not only be dehumanizing, it would be dangerous. The Center for Disease Control and the National Alliance to End Homelessness have recommended leaving tent communities during the pandemic because of the damaging impact evictions would have. As city officials you must abide by the recommendations of national experts in health and in homeless services in order to protect its residents.

Mayor of Philadelphia Kenney, City Manager Abernathy, and City Council Members, you have made  individual and collective public statements valuing Black lives. (Joint Statement from Mayor’s and City Advisory Commissions on Protests in Philadelphia | Mayor's Commission on Asian American Affairs ) To demonstrate that these statements have substance, you must move beyond words and produce meaningful policy responses and allocate resources. Black lives at the intersection of extreme poverty, housing insecurity and police violence are overrepresented in Philadelphia’s homeless population. To truly care about Black lives is to provide housing, resources and safety. This is what the camp residents have asked for and we are asking for them to be heard.

You have an opportunity to demonstrate good faith and solidarity with Philadelphians calling for action in response to our city's legacy of housing injustice and violence against Black Philadelphians.  Remove the threat of eviction. Show us that you care about Philadelphians experiencing homelessness. Show us that Black lives matter.

Take immediate action to meet encampment demands.


  1. Leah Yarmus, social worker and activist
  2. Casey Bohrman, social worker and social work professor
  3. Sarah Gawricki, case manager and activist
  4. Áine NiShionnaigh, Behavioral therapist and activist.
  5. Alex Harris, Programs Manager and Activist
  6. Renée Gavitt, therapist and activist
  7. Abdul-Aliy Abdullah Muhammad, organizer & writer
  8. Brooke M. Feldman, social worker and activist
  9. Jamaal Henderson, Activist and organizer
  10. Adrienne Standley, activist and organizer
  11. Carol O’Neill, Activist and Organizer
  12. Courtney Lane Harm Reductionist,Advocate for the underserved
  13. Sydney Rae Chin, Sex Educator and Activist
  14. Taylor Accooe, Social Worker and Activist
  15. Lisa Kelley, Artist, Activist, Harm Reductionist
  16. Kathryn Milholland, Harm Reductionist, Organizer
  17. Rosa Friedman, case manager and harm reductionist
  18. Dina Yarmus, educator
  19. Jennifer Deuel,  Medical Social Worker, Activist, Therapist
  20. Katie Leisher, Social worker, activist
  21. Evan Dubchansky, Licensed Social Worker
  22. Cynthia Munger, activist, harm reductionist
  23.  Joseph Beinlich, Case Manager
  24. Rosemary Cohen, social worker
  25. Robin DeBates, clinical social worker and program manager
  26. Andrew Chelius, social worker
  27. Thom Clancy, social worker
  28. Öykü Potuoglu Cook, social worker
  29. Jonah Rosen, Social Worker
  30. Torr Mundy, Social Worker
  31. Ben Adiletto, social worker
  32. Billy Ray Boyer, harm reduction organizer and recovery specialist
  33. Katherine Tkaczyk, educator
  34. Eli Heller, social worker, trauma therapist
  35. Lori Zaspel, social worker
  36. Ben Cocchiaro, Family Physician, Lecturer
  37. Claudia Gallego, therapist, social worker and activist
  38. Mae Carlson, social worker, researcher
  39. Nicole Cohen, social worker
  40. Samantha Daniels, social worker
  41. Bridget Biddle, social worker
  42. Jessie Buckner, Harm Reductionist, Activist
  43. Katherine Scholle, social worker and program manager
  44. Jesse Telles, social worker
  45. Cara Tratner, reentry social worker
  46. Anemone Schlotterbeck, social worker
  47. Laura Violet Miller, social worker and educator
  48. Arielle Narva, social worker, PDPH program manager
  49. Rachel Frome, social worker
  50. Anna Rhoades, BSW
  51. Marla DiMercurio, LCSW
  52. Sally Eberhardt, social worker and social work professor
  53. Charmaine Ensinger, LMFT, MHOP Clinical Supervisor
  54. Antar Bush, Social Work Public Health Advocate
  55. Jocelyn Bookman, Social Worker
  56. Maisy Hughes, LMFT, therapist, Social work researcher
  57. Faith Bartley, Human Services student@Harcum, Social Justice Advocate
  58. Madelaine Guss, Social Worker
  59. Joe Cox,  bike messenger/non profit founder/ activist
  60. Julie Rosen, Community Advocate/Educator
  61. Shell Myers, MFT
  62. Veronica Rex Casemanager
  63. Dexter Rose, social worker
  64. Caroline Bourscheid, harm reductionist, activist, former outreach worker and service coordinator
  65. Kiasha Huling, social worker
  66. Max Lovitz-Wolfson, Spanish and Portuguese interpreter and translator
  67. Edwin Matos Jr, case manager
  68. Grace Ng, Medical Student
  69. Kelly Smack, Social Worker
  70. Courtney Weintraub, Registered Nurse, medic around JTD Camp
  71.  Amber Howard, Case Manager, MSW Student
  72.  Roosevelt Howard, Case Manager, Advocate
  73.  Elliot Goodenough, physician
  74. Rachel Fox, Physician Assistant
  75.  Sean Pepley, Social Worker & Therapist
  76. Lauren Welch, Registered Nurse
  77. Susanne Johnson, Family Nurse Practitioner, medic around JTD Camp
  78. Shannon Morgan, social worker
  79. Kayla Orenstein, Registered Nurse
  80. Kay McGuffin, social worker
  81. Nyomi Thompson, social worker
  82. Marie Kelly, Registered Nurse
  83. Stephen Landis, homeless services program lead and advocate
  84. Samantha Stroup, Nursing student
  85. Shira Alberts, Registered Nurse
  86. Amanda Geraci, LCSW, Dual diagnosis therapist, harm reductionist, resources organizer
  87. Mary Craighead, Harm Reductionist, Activist
  88. Christine Zacchei, Clinical Social Worker
  89. Gina Cocchiaro, student nurse, former shelter social worker
  90. Samya Abu-Orf, Graduate Nurse
  91. Rebekeh Packer, shelter case worker
  92. Sherie Ruppersberger, social worker
  93. Jessie Axsom, Registered Nurse
  94. Zachary Maichuk, Clinical Psychologist
  95. Brittany von Hausch, Registered Nurse, student Nurse Midwife
  96. Lauren Ladner, activist
  97. Kristin Maguire, case manager
  98. Sophia Frankenfield, Student Nurse
  99. Margaret Rose, social worker
  100. Maria Thomson, social worker, law student, harm reductionist
  101. L’Oréal McCollum, clinical social worker, educator, advocate
  102. Kat Bowman, case manager
  103. Talia Miller, Social Worker
  104. Juan Spinnato, primary care physician
  105. Stephen Bonett, Registered Nurse
  106. Michèle Yarmus, Registered Nurse
  107. Carly Agre, Social Worker & Therapist
  108. Nicholas Haft, program manager
  109. Rachel E Abbott, Program manager
  110. Nico Betancourt, social worker
  111. Reuben Yarmus, Retired Educator
  112. Elliot Kahen, pediatric health specialist
  113. Sairy Franks, Trauma Healing Practitioner and Activist
  114. Steve Delturk, Trauma Therapist
  115. Kay Cohen, therapist
  116. Kara Pravdo, Nurse Practitioner
  117. José de Marco AIDS Community Organizer
  118. Jill Resnick, Social Worker
  119. Ellen Womer, Registered Nurse, JTD Camp Medic
  120. Allie DiTucci, social worker
  121. Sara Plummer, social work educator
  122. Courtney Douds, social worker, psychoanalyst, activist
  123. Tychelle Graham, MSW Social Worker, Anti-racism Educator, Higher Education Administrator
  124. Ash Robbins, Nurse Practitioner
  125. Mary Kremer, Peer Recovery Specialist
  126. Eva Fitch, Reentry Social Worker
  127. Elizabeth Holcomb, Registered Nurse
  128. Rosie Jacobson, educator
  129. Lori Latimer, MSW, LCSW, social worker, research study coordinator
  130. Lila Weintraub, Registered Nurse
  131. Salvatore Pelullo, social worker
  132. Leda Sportolari, social worker
  133. Julie Zaebst, social worker and foster parent
  134. Rev David Reppert, Pastor, United Church of Christ
  135. Lauren Pilar Cliggitt, Clinical Social Worker & Trauma Therapist
  136. Laura Sorensen, Social Worker, Program Director
  137. Michelle Inzerillo, Housing Counselor
  138. Katrina DeLancey, Activist and Pathways to Housing Program participant
  139. Kaleb Aronson, Social Worker
  140. Lulu Duffy-Tumasz, harm reduction coordinator and msw candidate, former shelter worker.
  141. Mia Rapine, child care worker, artist
  142. Martin Sinel, supportive housing professional, educator
  143. Ashley Reed, activist
  144. Jessica Rein, Social worker BSW, activist
  145. Kelsey Millets, CUA CM, MSW student
  146. Isy Abraham-Raveson, M.Ed., sexuality educator
  147. Daniel Glaubinger, educator and MSS student
  148. Nuriya Neumann, Licensed Occupational Therapist in community mental health
  149. Sara Francesconi, Licensed Social Worker
  150. Cory Kim, social worker
  151. Jessica Hummel, Mental Health Advocate, Student Nurse
  152. Laura Slotkoff,  MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist
  153. Joseph Meier, Activist
  154. Suzy Subways, Prison Health News
  155. Nicole Rodrigues, Teaching Artist
  156. Raina Satija, MSS, Social worker
  157. Kahn Miller, Harm reduction provider and activist
  158. Hilary Coulter, LCSW, psychotherapist & case manager
  159. Kristi Bennett, MSW, LSW, social worker in affordable housing
  160. Thomas Halsey Nailor, MSS, LSW, social worker and outpatient therapist
  161. Nayeli Spahr, Family Physician, Advocate
  162. Florencia Allegretti, LCSW, Behavioral Health Consultant in an FQH
  163. Alice Wang, LSW, social worker
  164. Allison Herens, LSW
  165. Sofia Commito, LCSW, psychotherapist
  166. Annike Sprow, LSW, Neurologic Specialist
  167. Veronyca Rodriguez, MSW, LSW, harm reductionist working in housing
  168. Tanajsia Mason, Former HIV case manager, Advocate
  169. Chyna Parker, social worker, activist
  170. Cassandra Feltner, MSN, Nurse Practitioner
  171. Jen Armento, administrative assistant, activist
  172. Mari Flamm, social worker
  173. Vanessa Mortillo, therapist
  174. Elana Sorrin, social worker
  175. Elicia Gonzales, social worker, Executive Director of Abortion Fund
  176. Patrick Brogan, case manager
  177. Sarah Erdo, Senior Clinical Specialist, activist
  178. Clayton Ruley, social worker/administrator
  179. Iris Bowen, LSW, Behavioral Health Clinician
  180. Ashley J. Carraher, LSW - medical social worker
  181. Lauren Zelouf- Licensed Social Worker
  182. Ariel Postone, Family Medicine Physician at an FQHC
  183. Paul Renn , LCSW at Federally Qualified Health Center
  184. Michelle Morse, internal medicine physician and activist
  185. Rachelle Fonbuena, BSN, Registered Nurse, Harm Reductionist
  186. Kai Thigpen, LSW, therapist
  187. Linda Rademaker, Speech language Pathologist.
  188. Libby Mathewson, Social Worker
  189. Jennifer Swanson, music therapist/counselor
  190. Claire Pope, Social Worker
  191. Seneca Harberger, Family Doctor
  192. Mara Gordon, family physician and assistant professor
  193. Alyssa Hansen LCSW, social worker
  194. Sarah Tolvaisa, psychotherapist
  195. MC Mazzocchi, candidate for MSW
  196. LeBrian Brown, reentry case manager
  197. Alie Huxta, MSW, social worker
  198. Tim Dunn, retired social worker/volunteer
  199. Ashley MacLaren, Social Worker
  200. Allison Hayley DiGiacinto, RN
  201. Sarah Latimore, LSW, medical case manager
  202. Noel Petrie, LCSW, Social Worker
  203. Jess. M. Jones, LCSW
  204. Phillip Ramautar, LSW, hospital social worker
  205. Denis Carey, LCSW, social worker
  206. Chris Hausman, candidate for MSW
  207. Arnav Shah, MD candidate
  208. Lauren Johnston, Case Manager
  209. Rudmila Rashid, MD candidate
  210. Althea Holmes, RN
  211. Victoria Lord, MD candidate
  212. Randon Martin, small business worker-owner
  213. Hannah Smith, Case Manager
  214. Emily Simpson, educator
  215. Derik Moore, LCSW, clinical SW
  216. Michael McKee, reentry social worker
  217. Laura Del Castillo, Bilingual Counseling Assistant with the School District of Philadelphia
  218. Naomi Wildflower, BSW
  219. Nyk Lifson, EMT/harm reduction
  220. Carter Griest, MD candidate
  221. Elisa Dolowich, MSN, Nurse Practitioner
  222. Jessica Elam, CPS, Executive Director of Nebulous Healing
  223. Jenny Ryder, concerned citizen
  224. Jen Whistler, social worker
  225. Maxwell Atkinson, social worker
  226. Remy Campbell, RN, BSN, MPA
  227. Rae Laven, concerned citizen
  228. Samantha Merkt, Doula and organizer
  229. Melissa Keating, LPC, Trauma Therapist
  230. Aj Aaron, social worker
  231. Jen Mainville, MPH
  232. Julia Rainer, social worker
  233. Gabriel Kalmuss-Katz, social worker
  234. Nicole Ellingson, social worker
  235. Kris Smith, social worker
  236. Olivia Hamilton, Case Manager
  237. Rashni Stanford, licensed social worker
  238. Kate Ryan, LCSW, psychotherapist
  239. Penelope Waite BSN, BA
  240. Rachel Zelouf, Licensed Social Worker
  241. Sarah Yanuck, educator
  242. Sophia AlBanaa, social worker
  243. Emily Mann, Case Manager
  244. Kade Collins, LSW, Therapist
  245. Norean Bay, Case Manager
  246. Robin Ortelere, Case Manager
  247. Abigail Beljean, LCSW, School Counselor
  248. Sanjna Surya, Medical Student
  249. Justin Jetty, activist and homeless advocate
  250. Denise Mirando Lugardo, Drop-in Center Lead
  251. Nicole Sage, medical case manager
  252. Sol-Ana Martinez, medical case manager
  253. M Holliday Davis, MAT program coordinator & social worker
  254. David Oscar Harvey, Harm reduction oriented recovery specialist
  255. Rebecca A. Hosey, MPH- Case Manager and nursing student focusing on street care
  256. Christine Dielmann, physical therapist
  257. Julie Schaller, homemaker
  258. Carolyn Magerr, nursing student
  259. Liam Magerr, icu nurse
  260. Elizabeth Boyle, MD
  261. Elsa Wefes-Potter, student
  262. Brian Gallagher, educator
  263. Jasmine Rivera, Civic Engagement Director
  264. Kayte Terry, artist
  265. Judith Max Palmer, social worker, organizer, activist
  266. Alicia Rivera, LCSW
  267. Javier Nova Rosa, Registered Nurse
  268. Emma Thorp, College and Career Adviser
  269. Helen Frazer, Harm Reductionist
  270. Antony Garcia, Advocate
  271. Megan Cauley, Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher
  272. Destiny Washington, Graphic Designer, Activist and formerly homeless person.
  273. Jeff Purdy, ally to homeless
  274. Nancy Franke, MSW, Social Worker and Social Work PhD student
  275. Jossie Carreras, emergency physician
  276. Lorren Ruscetta, Therapist
  277. Maya Robinson, Advocate
  278. Terry Sokoloff, Registered Nurse
  279. Shoshana Aronowitz, PhD, nurse practitioner
  280. Tav Aronowitz, Nursing Student
  281. Jacob Brennan, LPC
  282. Rebecca Katz, Master’s in Acupuncture student
  283. Ember Watson, social worker and activist
  284. Deborah Rose Hinchey, Organizer/Activist
  285. Cynthia Bertrand Holub, Activist
  286. Jennifer King, Social Worker
  287. Jamie Song, MPH student
  288. Anlin Wang, Organizer
  289. Andi Jones, Activist and former Educator
  290. Francis Snow, social worker
  291. Haydn James Williams, Housing Stabilization Specialist
  292. Nina Josephson, Housing Stabilization Specialist
  293. James Meier, shelter worker and advocate
  294. Lillian Coogan, Nursing student
  295. Robert Mora, Activist
  296. Julianna Hirsh, Activist
  297. Tara Benz, Activist
  298. Christine Vincent, medical student
  299. Steven Wadden, Social Worker
  300. Young Sheng, medical student
  301. Namdi Nwasike, Medical Student
  302. Jessica Bulafka, medical student, advocate
  303. Katharine Senter, medical student
  304. Chelsea Chamroeun, community organizer, harm reductionist, activist
  305. Dave Walk, Organizer
  306. Rose Dillon, community organizer, Reclaim Philadelphia
  307. Maxwell Wagenknecht, LCSW
  308. Natasha Cahill, community organizer
  309. Gwen Snyder,community organizer, Philadelphia Democratic Party committeeperson
  310. Adams Rackes, community organizer, Democratic Party Ward Leader
  311. Michael Chau, community organizer, Democratic Committeeperson
  312. Jacqueline Chiou, M.D.
  313. Joe Bastian, MSW student, case manager
  314. Christopher Allen, LPC, Clinical Care Manager.
  315. Cathy Lu, medical student
  316. Hartly Hanson, Activist
  317. Patchouli Oerther, Educator and Activist
  318. Crossley Simmons, social worker
  319. Tim Horras, librarian
  320. Carla Calabrese, Harm Reductionist, Peer Advocate
  321. Vivien Wong, M.D., Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  322. Joseph Leone, MD student and former Wedge Recovery Worker
  323. Jen Shinefeld, MS, Community Advocate and Harm Reductionist
  324. Tony Spadaro, M.D., MPH, Emergency Medicine Physician
  325. Sarah Ells, Service Coordinator
  326. Tess Kerins, community organizer
  327. Amanda Mcillmurray, Organizer
  328. Kara Lieff, activist + organizer
  329. Shelby Lang, community organizer
  330. Katharine Cristiani, union organizer
  331. Chou Taing, physician assistant
  332. Peter Wight, MPA - (ret)EMT-B, Activist, small business owner
  333. Stan Horwitz, activist
  334. Jan Jurchak, Artist
  335. Emma Gray Mankin, MSW Candidate
  336. Nina Koch, Social Worker
  337. Michael Huff, Attorney
  338. Jed Krivisky, Artist and Activist
  339. Em Rea, MSW Student
  340. Ashlyn Cancellieri, homelessness service coordinator, harm reductionist, MSW candidate
  341. Benjamin Goldstein, social worker
  342. Gabe McCall, MSW
  343. Kyle Chvasta, MSW, Social Worker and Public Health Educator
  344. Alexandra Larsen, medical student and CHOP Homeless Health Initiative student coordinator
  345. Arielle Amiri, community organizer
  346. Ashley Hansler,