PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In an effort to help the homeless, the non-profit Project HOME stationed “ambassadors of hope” throughout the city. One ambassador has been dubbed the “Reading Terminal Angel.”
“Here at the market, I work with the security team, I stay on the property just talking to strangers. It’s the best job I could ever have,” said ambassador Terez Giuliana.
Guiliana detailed her duties as the market’s ambassador, to locate people experiencing homelessness, “and offer them whatever they need and whatever I can offer them,” which can include hospitality services at the Hub of Hope in Suburban Station, such as showers, laundry and medical care.
She spends her mornings walking up and down the aisles of the market checking in on homeless friends she’s helped before and others she hopes to help. John Silvetti, who has been homeless and living on the streets for eight years, says Giuliana is a friend he can trust. “She pushes me to do what’s good for me,” he said of the woman who affectionately calls him “paisan.”
Giuliana has fostered many similar connections from Tootsie’s Buffet to Termini Bros. Bakery with people who she said want to be heard, and have needs to be met. Several times a day, she asks people, “How can I help you?” But more than that, she listens.
“Ask them what their plan is,” she said. “Their plan is important. What is your plan for getting through the winter? What do you have lined up? How can I help you? I get more than I give. Everybody has a story. You just have to sit down and listen to it.”
She said the market is a community of merchants, customers and regulars who all share the space, and together they care for those Giuliana considers her special friends. “I have my special population,” she explained, “people that I know are having a hard time. And this is a haven for them, and I just try to make it a better haven.”
Ultimately, Giuliana admitted the goal is to find them a home of their own. “The stars have to align for that to happen but they have and they do,” she said, “and I have faith that they will continue.”