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 the COVID-19 emergency, SELF led efforts with its funding partners, fellow providers, and advocates to help ensure the safety of sheltered and unsheltered Philadelphians.

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 Stories

Louise F.

“Now I can help others like others helped me.”

Yvette C.

“i’m use to taking care of myself.”

Louis M.

“if i can do it, you can do it.”

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.

Our Approach

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.