On June 14th, 2019, The CATCH, Inc. Transportation Department received a Commendation for their role in the Encampment Cleanup Project. The goal of the project was to help those living on the street gain access to services and shelters.

In 2018, the Department of Behavioral Health contacted CATCH, Inc. about collaborating on this task. John Mastrobuoni, CATCH’s Transportation Manager, designed a plan in coordination with DBH support outreach teams. The outreach teams would enter the encampments and seek out anyone looking for help. They would then direct these individuals to the CATCH van. CATCH provided encampment members with transportation to the DMV to acquire identification cards. These ID cards are necessary when seeking out services in the city. In all, CATCH transported over 100 encampment members to the DMV.

Based on the project’s success, community providers endeavored to expand their reach to those in need. CATCH and DBH came together once more, providing transportation to encampment members seeking shelter during the coldest months of the year. Throughout the winter, CATCH transported over 300 homeless individuals to various city shelters.

Jannie Blackwell, City Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless, awarded The Proclamation. Other honorees included the Department of Behavioral Health, the Office of Homeless Services, and team members from various Philadelphia area shelters. Mayor Jim Kenney was also on hand to offer his congratulations on the success of the initiative.

From left to right: Nick Mangini, John Mastrobouni, and Zach Henry pose with the Proclamation.

When asked what this proclamation means for his department, Mr. Mastrobuoni said: “My entire career, I have striven to help people in any capacity that I can in the city where I was raised. Being involved in this project has connected me to the city by doing what I love to do.”

This spring, CATCH was again approached by the Department of Behavioral Health. They were asked to provide transportation services for individuals needing overnight shelters throughout the summer months. Like the winter initiative, the plan is to give those in need a respite from the extreme temperatures. Mr. Mastrobuoni says “Our hope is to continue to work with DBH throughout the entirety of the year.”

CATCH was the only transportation company involved in the initiative. Mr. Mastrobuoni sees the potential for his fleet to be so much more than a means of conveyance. “CATCH is already such a well-known community supporter. My goal is for this department to be known as more than a transportation program. We are putting ourselves in a position to take our department to the next level of community service. We are no longer just someone’s ride. We are moving people forward.”