Addressing homelessness at Philadelphia's transit hubs

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On the marble floor hallways of Suburban Station, the homeless take refuge from the elements.

Kenneth Crafton has been homeless for three years. Tonight he'll sleep inside the station on 15th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

When asked why he said, "Because it's warm down here and people can come down here and eat. Sometimes social services comes down here and does some things, people come down here and give you clothes."

At times commuters find it difficult to navigate through the crowds of homeless people sleeping in the hallways.

Lourdes Valery travels from North Philadelphia.

"It's very scary. There are people that sleep down there. There's pee everywhere. I just think we need more help," Valery said.

Carol Inman says Suburban Station seems to have become a safe haven for the homeless.

"It's very crowded there down there all the time. Sometimes it's a little intimidating. Sometimes they can be angry, but most of them, they don't bother anybody. We have a real problem here in the city of Philadelphia," said Inman.

There's no doubt there is an influx. SEPTA has initiated a Code of Conduct for behavior inside stations, which prohibits lying down or sitting in areas other than seats. Transit officers do their best to move people along.

The Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services has empty shelter beds for anyone seeking a place to sleep. They've employed outreach teams to walk around highly populated homeless areas.

The agency is encouraging commuters and residents to lead them in the right direction.

"If you see someone who was experiencing homelessness we're asking people to call the homeless outreach line at 215-232-1984" said the agency's chief of staff, David Holloman.
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