Sister Mary Scullion has been involved in service work and advocacy for homeless and mentally ill persons since 1978. In 1985, she co-founded Woman of Hope which provides supportive housing for homeless mentally ill women. In 1988, she helped establish the Outreach Coordination Center, a nationally recognized model, which coordinates street outreach to chronically homeless persons in Philadelphia.
In 1989, Sister Mary and Joan Dawson McConnon co-founded Project H.O.M.E. Since that time, Project H.O.M.E. has grown tremendously - now offering 459 units of housing in Philadelphia, including 272 units of supportive housing. Most recently, in 2008, we completed critically needed renovations to St. Elizabeth´s Recovery Residence, allowing us to provide 24 units to two special-needs populations: homeless Veterans and homeless men with physical disabilities. In 2004, we opened 144 units of affordable housing (“Kate´s Place”) in the heart of Rittenhouse Square to help prevent homelessness.
As part of our efforts to revitalize North Central Philadelphia, we have rehabbed and sold 43 houses to first-time homebuyers. Project H.O.M.E. also has increased its efforts to address the structural causes of homelessness and poverty through neighborhood revitalization in North Philadelphia. This initiative includes Economic Development along Ridge Avenue, a Community-Based Health Center, a Homeownership Program and the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs – a state-of-the-art technology center that provides educational and workforce development opportunities for neighborhood children and families. Sister Mary is also a powerful voice on political issues affecting homelessness and mentally ill persons. Her advocacy efforts resulted in the right of homeless persons to vote as well as a landmark federal court decision that affects the fair housing rights of persons with disabilities.
Sister Mary has received numerous awards including the Ford Foundation´s prestigious “Leadership for a Changing World Award” which she was awarded with co-founder Joan McConnon; an “Eisenhower Fellowship”; and The Philadelphia Award. She has also received several honorary doctorates and the distinguished recognition of being counted as one of Time Magazines 100 of the World´s Most Influential People of 2009. Under Mary´s leadership, Project H.O.M.E. has also won many awards such as The National Alliance to End Homelessness awarded Project H.O.M.E. the Nonprofit Sector Achievement Award, and The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty awarded Project H.O.M.E. a STAR award, In addition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) selected Project H.O.M.E. as one of the “100 Best Practices” nationwide out of 3,000 nominees, and the Philanthropy Roundtable selected Project H.O.M.E. as one of the “16 most efficient and innovative charities we know of anywhere.”