Families Forward Philadelphia (FFP)

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Families Forward Philadelphia, formerly known as Travelers Aid Society of Philadelphia, gives the following descriptive information:

Families Forward Philadelphia (Families Forward) operates the city's largest privately run shelter with sixty-nine (69) private, family units at our residential facility and also supporting eighty (80) families in transitional and permanent family residential units throughout West Philadelphia. Families Forward is one of the few agencies in Philadelphia capable of housing the entire family, allowing both parents to be with their children during this time of crisis, and specifically designing programs to accept larger families and families with more acute issues.


FFP gives the following historical information:

The first Travelers Aid was established in 1851 in St. Louis to assist families relocating to California by covered wagon. The Travelers Aid Society of Philadelphia was established in 1901 to aid stranded travelers in the city, most of whom were new immigrants to the area. At the time, there were over 100 Travelers Aid organizations across the country assisting the large influx of immigrant travelers.

The agency extended its mission during the Depression to include housing and other assistance to unemployed persons throughout Philadelphia. In the 1940s, it helped found the USO to serve traveling uniformed personnel during WWII.

In the 1980s the agency began assisting refugees from wars in Southeast Asia and Central America. In the 1990s it began to focus on the persistent problems of homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. Travelers Aid developed new emergency shelter and transitional housing programs, intensive case management, employment support, and after-school and summer programs for children. Today Families Forward Philadelphia is a key part of Philadelphia’s continuum of services for homeless and impoverished families, and is especially recognized for our expertise in helping large homeless families (those with three or more children.)