Addressing Homelessness and Addiction on Transit

Mar 14, 2022

10:00am – 11:00am CT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues are seeking refuge on the transit system in Philadelphia. Rather than approach this purely as a law enforcement problem, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) formed an innovative partnership with social service nonprofit Merakey. Substance abuse and mental health professionals have been paired with transit police officers to extend treatment and community-based resources to those in need across the system, including at the Somerset station in Kensington, dubbed Philadelphia’s Skid Row. Learn how SEPTA’s new ways of addressing homelessness are succeeding and changing the relationship police officers have with the community.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Flora Castillo
Flora Castillo

Pivot Strategies

photo of Ted Dallas
Ted Dallas


photo of Thomas J. Nestel
Thomas J. Nestel

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

photo of Leslie S. Richards
Leslie S. Richards

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

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