SELF, a human services agency providing vital services and resources to Philadelphia’s homeless and underserved communities, is naming its new social resource center the Mike Hinson Resource Center to honor the legacy of former SELF President/CEO Michael Hinson.
The center will be unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday.
"It is only fitting that this resource center be named after Mike Hinson," said Raymond Jones, SELF’s communications consultant. "This is a crowning achievement in one of Mike’s many accomplishments."
The center, at 1701 Lehigh Ave., will offer approximately 50 homeless participants a daily respite, ability to wash clothes, access to showers and refreshments.
“This project ... is the only place in North Philadelphia where a homeless person can go to take a shower, get something to eat, be connected to services ... and overnight it is the only place in the whole city of Philadelphia for a male to go to if they need shelter," said David Fair, a SELF board member. "So, it is a critically important service that we’ll be providing out of the center and exactly the kind of service Michael dedicated his life to making."
Prior to his work with SELF, Hinson had already developed the reputation of being a social justice leader. He was also the founder and former executive director of the Colours Organization, co-founder of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, and CEO of SELF, Inc., a human services agency.
Hinson, who died Aug. 27, began his work in social justice when he was 19 as one of Philadelphia's first organizers during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
"At that time he got very involved in the effort to alert the African-American community — especially the African-American gay community about the threat of AIDS, Fair said. "He worked in the AIDS system and in other Black gay organizations for much of his life after that."
In 2000, Hinson was appointed by former Mayor John F. Street as the city's first LGBTQ liaison.
"I am just pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Mike for the three and a half years that I did," said Quibila Divine, chief program officer for SELF. "He was more than a team member and an employer — he was like my brother and I am definitely going to miss him."
The center will also be hosting a celebration in Hinson's honor following the ribbon-cutting ceremony.