Do I have to be homeless to come on Monday?

Our program is designed to help men and women who cannot afford ID.  We can only assist homeless men, women, and children who are referred to us from agencies in the city.  We ask that clients bring a referral letter.

Why don't the homeless just get jobs?

In our economy, it is difficult for anyone to find a blue collar job, especially for the homeless.  One must have proper identification, a mailing address, and work clothing as a starting point.

Why don't the homeless go to warmer cities for the Winter?

I used to ask the same question.  A good answer is that they are not birds.  They are people.  With friends and family that live here.  And they are Eagles fans.

If there are only about 500 street homeless in Philadelphia, why are the lines so long at the Philly Restart meal?

There are about 500 men and women that sleep on the streets.  There are thousands in Philadelphia who live in shelters, rehabs, and halfway houses. These men, women, and children are also homeless, though they don't sleep outside.

What is the biggest cause of homelessness?

I used to think that it was just drugs and mental health, and that absolutely is a big factor. However, from my experience, the largest contributing factor to homelessness is a broken family. Without a safety net, even minor problems can land a capable individual in a state of homelessness.

As for the drugs, we have swollen rehabs in Philadelphia where heroin is a monster. Alcohol plays a significant role, and there are varying levels of mental health problems.

What are some examples of homeless situations?

We have regular homeless visitors from the streets and shelters that view our Mondays as a family. 

We have a lot of guests that are just out of prison and need identification to get jobs and housing.

We have hundreds and hundreds of addicts who need ID to get into rehab.

And we welcome women in safe havens, families in transition, and the working poor who cannot afford food every month.

Can we end homelessness?

I think that we can make tremendous progress, but I do not think that Philadelphia can end homelessness. I hope that I am wrong.

Is Restart a 501c3 non-profit?

Yes.   Restart has been a part of the Helping Hand Rescue Mission in North Philadelphia, under Pastor Matt Gallashaw for 4 years.  The Helping Hand Rescue Mission offers a wide range of homeless and community work.  All donations go through the Helping Hand Rescue Mission.

If I make a donation, where does my money go?

100% of your donation will pay for food and state identification that helps the homeless get back on their feet.  We need to raise about $60,000 a year.  About $12,000 of that is for the food.

Is it legal to serve meals to the homeless?

In order to legally serve a weekly outdoor meal to the homeless in Philadelphia, a group must obtain a free permit from the city, and are subject to health inspections.

Can I volunteer?

We have volunteers at our Monday meal that serve and clean up the area.  Please use our contact form if you are interested in helping.

What does someone need to do to get a PennDot ID card?

Obtaining a PennDot non-driver's license is much easier if you have had one in the last 20 years.  You will be on file with your photo in the computer.  In that situation, you need to bring a check or money order for $29.50 to a local PennDot.  If you would like a new address on the card, you will need to bring 2 official proofs of your new address.  (If you have a valid ID that is not expired, but just lost, the fee is $28.50).

If you have never had a PennDot ID card, you will need to bring an official birth certificate, Social Security card or print-out, and 2 proofs of address to a PennDot.  And the fee will be $28.50.

For those in need of obtaining a birth certificate from out of state or out of the country, the Homeless Advocacy Project will help with no charge to the client.   215-523-9595. 

Social Security Cards can be ordered for no charge at 1500 JFK Boulevard (#2000) or other branches.  Make sure to bring other forms of identification when applying for birth certificates, Social Security Cards, and PennDot ID.

Pennsylvania Vital Records (for PA birth certificates) is located next door to the downtown PennDot at 110 North 8th Street in Philadelphia.  Pennsylvania birth certificates are $20 and cash is not accepted.


Should I give the homeless money when I see them begging?

The City of Philadelphia has a lot of resources to help men and women on the streets.  Our suggestion is to support organizations that help with hunger, addiction, and housing.  If someone is homeless and needs an outreach worker, you can call 215-232-7272.  

And here is a link to a list of free meals in the city:


Still have questions?

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