PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - It’s called the Hub of Hope, but some people think the hope for Philadelphia’s homeless has turned into harassment.
A city employee sent FOX 29 a video of a violent fight breaking out in a concourse area connected to Suburban Station, that leads into the Municipal Services Building.
According to the employee, it happened right in front of Hub of Hope, a center that offers people experiencing homelessness year-round services.
He did not want to be identified in order to protect his job.
While he is supportive of what happens inside Hub of Hope, he says the fight captured just a small snapshot of what he and many other co-workers have to deal with on their walk to work outside the building.
Among other issues, he says he’s witnessed people doing drugs, peeing and defecating, screaming, yelling, and harassing people walking through.
Others who work in Suburban Station say they see that on a daily basis.
“There’s some scary people down here for sure,” says Michael Bowler. “I’ve seen people OD, people just go to the bathroom down here, I’ve seen people throw their needles, I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff down here."
It’s not the first time Fox 29 received these complaints.
*Back in June, several employees in the Municipal Services Building came forward to Fox 29 with similar concerns.
At that time, Philadelphia police said they were working with the city's white collar union on a plan to upgrade security, help the homeless and make reporting criminal conduct easier.
"Progress is slow,” Captain Sekou Kinebrew said. “It's not instantaneous, but we're hopefully moving in the right direction and hopefully we can get a handle on this and things will get better, over time."
Fox 29 reached out to police on Tuesday about progress on those efforts. They said they would not be able to comment until later in the week.
However, a city spokeswoman sent Fox 29 the following statement in response to the concerns:
“The Hub of Hope was opened to provide much needed services and resources to those who are experiencing homelessness. The City works in partnership with Project Home and law enforcement to develop strategies to make the area around the Center safe for everyone.”
In the last six months, they say they took steps to increase PPD and SEPTA police presence, install security camera, increase and expand outreach service, improve cell service in the concourse, and structurally narrow the corridor to improve visibility.
City officials ask anyone who is in need of help to call their 24-hour outreach hotline at 215-232-1984.