Jewell Williams, the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County, participated in the Hero Thrill Show on Saturday, September 20th. The mission of the Hero Thrill Show is to raise money to pay for the college tuition of children of Philadelphia Police Officers, Firefighters and Sheriff Officers killed in the line of duty.

Sheriff Jewell Williams joined several other politicians and dignitaries including Congressman Bob Brady, Mayor Michael Nutter, City Councilman Curtis Jones, members of the band Pieces of A Dream, as well as union officials and dozens of others at the kickoff of the National Night Out activities at 75th & Lansdowne Avenue.

The event on August 4th, 2014, kicked off dozens of other activities held across the city in recognition of the 30th Anniversary of National Night Out which began here in Philadelphia in 1984.

“The significance of National Night Out is much more than people turning on their porch lights, or sitting on their steps”, said Sheriff Williams.  “It is a national event that focuses on the spirit and sense of responsibility and accountability that makes a neighborhood worthy of the name, and enhances the quality of life for the individuals living there”.

Sheriff Williams also participated in activities at the Feltonville Boys & Girls Club, Parkside Association of Philadelphia, and the South of South Town Watch organization.

At any given time, and on any given day, it’s not unusual to see people camped out on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign requesting money, or walking around a busy intersection looking for a handout.

According to the signs, some are homeless, while others just need a few coins for something to eat. 

They are young and old, black and white, and include even a growing number of veterans in these ranks of the unfortunate.

In my position as Sheriff of the City and County of Philadelphia, it disturbs me to see any one forced to beg and/or sleep on the streets, and especially disturbing when they are veterans who have already sacrificed so much in service to their country.

Statistics say the number of homeless veterans will continue to rise as they return home from places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and any theater of engagement where their lives are under constant threat.

It is troubling on many levels to have served your country honorably as a member of the Armed Forces, only to return to challenges and hurdles that may have arisen as a result of that same service, especially if they were in combat situations.

Among the organizations doing outreach on the street level is the Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF) Veterans Program that targets veterans and their families who are either homeless, or are at risk of losing their homes.

The program offers:

  • Housing needs assessments and goal setting
  • Benefits screening and enrollment
  • Temporary financial assistance

To qualify:

  • You must have served 24 continuous months, or the full period for which you were called to active duty
  • Be a member of a family in which the head of the household, or spouse of the head of the household is a Veteran
  • Cannot have been dishonorably discharged

Workers in the UESF Veterans Program literally drive around seeking out homeless veterans on the street, and have done intake interviews with homeless individuals as they rest on cardboard mats on the sidewalk.

The organizations motto is a simple one: “Keeping Vulnerable Families in Their Homes”.

So if you know a veteran, the spouse of a veteran, or someone living in the household of a veteran who is homeless or close to losing their home, please pass along the following information.

UESF Veterans Program
1617 JFK Boulevard
Suite 840
Philadelphia, PA  19103
(215) 814-6888
www.uesfacts.org



 

Philadelphia, July 14 -- Sheriff Jewell Williams announced today that for Fiscal Year 2014 the Sheriff’s Office increased its payment of delinquent taxes and fees to the City by 40-Percent over Fiscal Year 2013.

Delinquent taxes, water and gas bills are collected through monthly Mortgage Foreclosure and Tax Sales. In FY 2013 the office collected and turned over $27,500,000. In the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2014 the office collected and sent to the City of Philadelphia $45,160,648—an increase of $18.1 million.

The Sheriff attributed the added revenue in part to increases in the number of properties put up for sale. However, the majority of the increase was due to the efficiency of the new information technology system and the hiring of staff to conduct and process sales in a timely manner. After a year of development, this new computer system first became operational for the October 2013 auctions.

 “The principal mission of the Sheriff’s Office is to transport up to five hundred prisoners a day to and from Courts and to guard and protect everyone who uses the City’s nine Court facilities. However, as agents of the Court System we carry out duties directed by Court Order. One of the most complicated is holding Foreclosure and Tax Sales,” noted Sheriff Williams.

“There are some sales in which approximately 500 new properties are put up for auction”, he continued. “Over the course of a year about 7,500 new properties and liens are put up for sale and each property has to be processed, advertised, and posted. Once sold, the delinquencies owed to the City must be paid and a deed prepared for the new owner.”

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Deputy Sheriff who died back in 1982 trying to stop two men from robbing a bar in West Philadelphia now has a plaque dedicated in his honor, laid in the sidewalk in front of the Criminal Justice Center.

It’s the 266th Hero Plaque Dedication, but organizer James Binns notes Roy Fortson, Jr. was the first Philadelphia Deputy Sheriff to be killed in the line-of-duty, since the office was founded in 1750.

“He could have taken a pass. The law enforcement officer in him came out and he did engage them, but was shot five times and killed.”

His family is grateful for the recognition, including Fortson’s widow, Edna.

“My heart is overwhelmed. I feel the love that you showed my husband. As a servant of god, he did what he was required to do that night, not knowing that it would be his last.”

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams says laying the plaque outside the Criminal Justice Center serves as a reminder of the challenges brave officers face, and that “we will never forget a fallen officer.”


Written by Steve Tawa for CBS News on June 1, 2014.

Jewell Williams, Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County (left) participated in Career Day at the Albert M. Greenfield School in Center City Philadelphia along with Marine Corps Reserve Captain Sean A. Toolan (middle) who has a son there in the second grade, and Deputy Sheriff Officer Marquet Parsons, a graduate of Greenfield. 

Sheriff Wiliams spoke about the importance of education and delivered an anti-bullying message to a kindergarten and fifth grade class during the day. 

For Helen Clowney, working with and serving the neighbors on her neatly kept, tree-lined block in North Philadelphia has been a labor of love - one that has endured a half-century.

Looking out on the cherry blossoms that brighten the 2200 block of North Woodstock Street, Clowney speaks with pride of the street where she has lived her entire life and served as a block captain for 50 years. She is retiring this spring.

"It's a family block. It's like family. We're very close," Clowney said Thursday.

"If somebody gets sick, everybody steps in and helps," she said. "If they need something, we try to help them get it. It's just a close-knit block."

Last week, Clowney was honored by her neighbors, family, and community leaders at her church, St. Martin de Porres. More than 100 people attended.

Clowney, a widow who doesn't like to discuss her age, said she knew every person living on the block of 70 homes between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin Street.

"I can tell you who lives in each house," Clowney said.

And her neighbors know her for her activism, her generosity, and the whistle she blows when calling for them to participate in street cleanups several times a year.

"Miss Helen is one of the icons of this block," said neighbor Paul Richards. "She's going to be sorely missed as our block captain."

When it's time to clean up the block, "she gets out that whistle," Richards said. "She goes from the top of the block, blowing that whistle, and she has a few of the kids knocking on doors."

When the work is done, she gives everyone a treat, Richards said, usually a pretzel and water ice.

He and others said Clowney is known for organizing the street's annual Memorial Day block party.

Another neighbor, Bernice Hines, also recalled Clowney blowing her whistle to call out neighbors for projects.

"She used the whistle to say, 'All you lazy birds, get out here. You're a part of this block. Show your commitment to it,' " Hines said.

Asked what she liked about being a block captain, Clowney said, "It just makes me feel good inside. When we have affairs in the block, we never have any trouble. Everybody is just family."

Clowney noted that she has a cocaptain, Willie Mae Clark, who has worked with her for many years. "She's a very good person, and I think she should be recognized, too," Clowney said.

Clowney, a graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls who spent her life as a stay-at-home mother with one child, said she enjoyed walking children to school and back home again.

Among her other interests, she said, she enjoys spending time at the Martin Luther King Older Adult Center on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, where she leads a poetry class.

Clowney also likes to cut a few steps doing line dances. She said she enjoys doing the electric slide and the cha-cha slide. "The Baltimore - that's my favorite. They named that one after me," she quipped. "I taught my granddaughter, my son-in-law, and my daughter."

Her son-in-law, Tony Leonard, said Clowney goes to meetings with elected officials in the community and attends monthly meetings with police at the 22d District at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue. She describes Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who grew up in the neighborhood, as "two of my kids."

She is pleased that a neighbor, Jannette Robinson, will take over as block captain. Clowney said the street also has three junior block captains, two boys and a girl.

Clowney said she was stepping down because "I thought it was time enough for someone else to step up to the plate and take my place after 50 years."

Hines, her neighbor, stood on her front steps and looked down proudly.

"You see this block and the way it looks. It looks this way because of her," Hines said. "She has worked hard to keep it intact."


Written by Vernon Clark for the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 6, 2014.

Last week Sheriff Jewell Williams lead Operation Sunrise, a city wide sweep which brought in over a dozen fugitives with outstanding warrants.