Our Stories

Change to SELF team members have made a difference in thousands of lives. Here are a few stories about real people who have overcome significant challenges with the help of SELF team members.

Louise Fasone

Yvette Clark

Louis McDuffie

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It's All About SELF

February 2024 – March 2024

From the Desk of the CEO

Summertime approaches quickly as spring fades beneath the sun. While many plan for their vacations, the unhoused have a deeper quandary as our winter initiative comes to an end. How does this program impact the unhoused in our community?

December 1st through April 30th brings additional night by night emergency housing beds. With this placement comes a warm place to rest one's head, a hot meal to eat, and a secure place for one's belongings. Once this program ends, some may return to the street for they have no long-term place to go.

Affordable housing continues to be a challenge that our society continues to grapple over. While housing opportunities are scarce, the barriers continue to grow. The correlation between mental health diagnosis and the unhoused is significant. Limited treatment opportunities coupled with scarce employment options significantly increase one's probability of being unhoused.

Can housing insecurity be diminished without collaboration between mental health providers, substance use disorder treatment, workforce development, and DEi solutions? Service delivery continues to create a pathway for resources that diminish housing insecurity. Our team at SELF Inc. remains committed to partnering with other organizations as we develop housing opportunities for the unhoused.

Please join us in this fight! Together we can make a difference. Reach out to your elected officials and challenge them to support affordable housing bills on a local, state, and federal level.

In Service,
Dr. Dash

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"Geographical changes, abundance of money through better paying jobs and even furthering my education could not help me with my dilemma because I was my worst problem."

My parents split up when I was in the seventh grade. I didn't think that it had anything to do with my gradual spiral downward. I used to think using drugs was fun and all my friends were trying drugs too. I just wanted to fit in. My parents divorced and other traumatic life experiences fueled my poor decision-making and bad behavior. Throughout the 1990's, I found myself in and out of jail and rehab facilities. My attempts to control my drug use and life became futile. Geographical changes, abundance of money through better paying jobs and even furthering my education could not help me with my dilemma because I was my worst problem. Only after I surrendered and cried out to God for help, did my life start to change.

That change started inside of me at my last rehab center. I was placed at Richard Jones Recovery House (RJRH) run by SELF, Inc. for my aftercare. It was there that I learned to apply the change within me to my life around me. It took love and effort to put a tailor-made support system in place to help me. Through God and the support of people who care about me, I have been able to stay clean and recover from this dreaded disease called addiction. I completed an intensive outpatient therapy program at Penn Presbyterian for nine months. I was transferred from RJRH to the lfe Wellness Center also run by SELF. The staff at both RJRH and lfe have been so supportive of my recovery. I also gained employment at one of SELF's homeless shelters, completed my training as a Certified Recovery Specialist and recently moved out of shelter into my own place. Now I can help others like others helped me.

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

I’ve always been able to take care of myself. I am not and have never been afraid of hard work. But after working for a company for several years, I was laid off and could not find another job. That is how me and my mom ended up at Erie House. I tell you, the women there were so kind to us. I was intent on finding me a job so I could get a place. Every week I walked from Erie House, all the way to the Philadelphia Unemployment Project to look for work. Thank God, that when I got there someone gave me a ride back or I was able to get a token. If I needed to walk back, I would have done it but God had it so I didn’t have to.

Now, I have so much to be grateful for. I have to thank the Erie House, Connections, and Rapid Rehousing for my beautiful apartment. It’s all mine and I am so, so proud. Now I am looking for my mom so she can move in with me. I am so happy to have a place to call my own. The ladies at Erie House saved my life. I will always be grateful!


My life was totally different than it was nine years before. With the help of the SELF program and team members, my life was completely transformed. I left Newark, New Jersey and headed to Philadelphia in 2007. I was looking to change and live a clean and sober life. I went to Outley House and it started from there. I began doing things at Outley House to help my recovery and then started going to a SELF program. The program was in Center City. I started helping out and sweeping and cleaning up things around there in my spare time. SELF program leaders really appreciated it. I was doing it because it also helped me stay clean. They offered me a job as a peer mentor in the program and in only a couple of months, they promoted me to head peer mentor. I was really happy. I did that for a year and was still doing my program and in recovery. I stayed clean and sober and was still working as a peer mentor and then in August 2008, I got another promotion. They asked me if I wanted to be an on-call residential aide at Safe Haven, another SELF program. I gladly took the job! I kept working my program and the people at SELF kept on encouraging me. They kept on telling me that I could do it.

A few years later, I believe in 2011, I was promoted again, this time to a part-time residential aide and in 2015, I was offered a job as a full-time residential aide at Safe Haven!! My life was totally different than it was nine years before. With the help of the SELF program and team members, my life was completely transformed. SELF helped me so much. They respected me, believed in me, and loved me. They showed me they loved me. With them believing in me, I was able to believe in myself.

I love going to work every day and talking to the program participants at Safe Haven. Just like me, they came to SELF to get their lives together. Today, I have the best life. I get to see people like me turn their lives around. By sharing my story, I am giving to others what SELF gave to me. I let participants know that if I can do it, they can too. I come in with gratitude, rarely call out, and help keep the house up. I live it and continue in my recovery. With love, determination, and people in your corner, you can do anything.