Residents of St. John’s Hospice enjoy a clam chowder lunch on Feb. 14, 2018. The outreach will undergo substantial renovations thanks to recently announced grants from the Connelly Foundation and the William Penn Foundation’s Family Recovery Fund. (Sarah Webb)

An archdiocesan homelessness ministry is ready for an upgrade, thanks to generous funding that will enable the outreach to expand its mission.

St. John’s Hospice (SJH) has been awarded a $250,000 from the Connelly Foundation and, in partnership with Connelly, a matching donation of $101,000 from the William Penn Foundation’s Family Recovery Fund.

Operated by archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS), the downtown Philadelphia outreach has provided care for men in homelessness for more than 50 years.

Each weekday, SJH – a beneficiary of the Catholic Charities Appeal — distributes more than 300 meals to its residential and day guests, while offering case management, on-site nursing, daily showers and a mail room. The facility annually houses some 250 men transitioning from homelessness to independent living, and has been a lifeline for clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Connelly Foundation funding will be used to bolster existing programs, including a complete renovation of SJH’s Coffee House, an emergency drop-in center that provides temporary shelter, food, restrooms, showers and staff support for 27 chronically homeless men from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night of the year. Upgrades to the space will include new lighting, flooring, portable sleeping cots, along with a new HVAC system that will maintain a comfortable and safe temperature in the sleeping area.


SJH clients and staff will also enjoy improved spaces for preparing and eating meals, with a portion of the grant helping to remodel the SJH kitchen and dining room. A new oven, deep fryer, refrigerator and commercial dishwashing station are set to be installed.

In addition, the monies will be used to upgrade SJH’s Good Shepherd Program kitchen to a residential teaching facility that will allow the men in residence to share meals and fellowship, learn about healthy living and cooking, and acquire critical skills needed to transition to independent living.

Awarded funds from the William Penn Foundation will be used for equipment and improvements related to food distribution at SJH.