THE HUB OF HOPE is headed back home.

After Project HOME's seasonal social-services center for the homeless was inexplicably shut out of its old space inside Suburban Station, it was told that it could return.

Talk about a welcome about-face.

In November, the landlord who had donated the space for the past three winters sent word that he no longer would be able to do so, "due to complaints from tenants and brokers." What those complaints were was anyone's guess, because no one in the know was talking. The Hub was left scrambling to find a new spot.

It made no sense to get rid of an on-the-ground service that helped get folks off the streets, as I said in a previous column. During three winters, the Hub connected some of the city's chronically homeless to housing assistance, doctors and case managers, among other services. In that time, it was able to place more than 500 people in housing, including formerly homeless folks who volunteered for the center.

Over the past few weeks, Hub program director Karen Orrick said, many people and organizations have tried to help work out a deal with another landlord, but it wasn't looking good.

She thanked several individuals and business partners for helping the Hub return to its spot under Two Penn Center next week for the rest of the winter free of charge.

"We don't know what caused the change of heart," Orrick said. "But we are really thrilled to be able to continue to pass along hope and help to people in need."

When news about the Hub's homecoming got out, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel, who has been supportive of the center, tweeted his approval:

"The transit police are VERY happy about this development. It is such a tremendous resource for us."

The long-term location of the Hub is still in question. Orrick said the organization is thinking about a mobile unit that could more easily be moved around the city.

But for now, she and others are preparing to open the Hub inside the cramped former beauty parlor just below 15th Street on JFK Boulevard. For starters, they could use donations of socks, underwear, boots and coffee. Visit Project HOME's website to see the full wish list.

And if you see someone who is homeless and in need of help, call the 24-hour homeless-outreach hot line at 215-232-1984.

"These last few weeks have really proven how invaluable the space is to so many," Orrick said. "We are just really excited to be back."

Phone: 215-854-5943

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