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SELF logo Final.png

Strengthening and Empowering
Lives and Futures

What We Do

SELF is a 501 (c) (3 ) human services agency that provides emergency and permanent supportive housing, housing-focused case management, mentoring, and other vital services and resources for Philadelphia's most vulnerable communities.

During this COVID-19 emergency, SELF is leading efforts with its funding partners, fellow providers, and advocates
to help ensure the safety of sheltered and unsheltered Philadelphians experiencing homelessness.

Dance class participants and supporters.
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Image by Tai's Captures


We hope that you and your family continue to be well and stay safe by practicing social distancing and following health and safety recommendations to help minimize your exposure to the coronavirus (which causes COVID-19).


At SELF, we continue to follow best practices and guidance issued by our partners at the Office of Homeless Services, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

Our Stories


Louis F.

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"Now I can help others Like others helped me."


Yvette C.

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"I'm use to taking care
of myself."


Louis M.

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"If I can do it.
You cando it."

About us

Nearly three decades ago, Dr. Sylvester Outley founded SELF to deliver drug and alcohol counseling services in the City of Philadelphia shelters. Our mission at SELF is to motivate, empower, and inspire individuals to live their best lives. With compassion at its core, our approach uses best practices and evidence-based programming to pave the way for personal and community transformation. Our initiatives helped establish Philadelphia’s emergency housing system and programming for the homeless behaviorally challenged and substance dependent populations. We continue to be at the forefront of its innovation and as a result grew our emergency housing services from operating one site to operating eight emergency housing sites, four emergency housing programs including a street homeless outreach team, 36 permanent supportive housing units, and a permanent supportive housing program. 

Our Service Approaches

Since our founding, SELF has led the way in developing effective programming for Philadelphia’s homeless. We continue to identify innovative solutions to end homelessness and improve the delivery of services within the city’s emergency shelter system. Our service approaches include:


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Our Beliefs and Commitment

We strongly believe that every participant has the right to safe, affordable, permanent housing; earn a livable wage; be connected to family; be connected to community; and achieve successful independent living through personal
development and transformation. We also believe that by addressing social determinants of health we can improve outcomes and reduce homelessness, substance abuse, and incarceration. As part of our holistic approach to social
change, SELF is unswerving in its work to eradicate homelessness in Philadelphia and serve as a national model for innovative programming that prevents homelessness, supports recovery from substance addiction, and
assists those experiencing or on the verge of experiencing homelessness.

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