This building is named for Gloria Guard, President of the People's Emergency
Center from June 1983 to June 2010, one of the most forceful and
effective voices for social justice in Philadelphia's history.
Her deep commitment to social justice, an uncompromising sense of the dignity
and worth of each person and an extraordinary capacity to inspire others,
enabled Gloria to lead PEC into the front lines of the effort to bring hope and
opportunity to thousands of homeless women and their children.
Under her leadership, PEC was transformed from a barebones homeless shelter
housed in a church basement, into one of the nation's most progressive
providers of housing and social services to homeless families. At PEC women
and children learn that they are no longer prisoners of their past. No one who
comes here is turned away and all who enter are treated with respect.
When this facility, now known as Gloria's Place, opened in 1990 it was the first
of its kind in the nation. Gloria Guard was determined that Philadelphia's
homeless families would be spared the indignities too often associated with
emergency shelters. She was tenacious in her pursuit of funding, dogged in
mastering and shaping the building's details, and adamant that compromises
on quality and safety were unacceptable. Known by PEC staff as the leader who
worked "8 days a week," Gloria consistently modeled integrity and the
highest quality standards.
At the same time, Gloria was committed to making PEC and its families an
integral part of a much stronger, more supportive and economically viable
community. Her unwavering vision and energy dramatically changed PEC's
surrounding neighborhood. She helped spur the development of hundreds of
units of affordable housing, the creation of small businesses, the revitalization
of houses andstorefronts and the conversion of vacant lots into vibrant
playgrounds and inviting public spaces.
Gloria's compassion, vision, and advocacy on behalf of poor and working
families have been widely recognized. She was given The Philadelphia Award,
the United Way Citizen of the Year Award, and the Louis D. Apothaker Award
for Social Justice, among many others.
Gloria did not just show an indefatigable spirit. Her perseverance and
remarkable capacity to find talented, compassionate, and committed staff and
board members means that the guiding spirit behind PEC's emergence
will carry on for generations.
Since leaving PEC, Gloria continues to devote her time and energy to new
endeavors which connect working and poor people to broadband access,
accompanied by relevant and accurate information.
On June 8, 2010, Congressman Chaka Fattah entered these words into the
Congressional Record: Philadelphia is a better place, a more nurturing and
supportive community, a place where women and children can find safety, security
and vital services, because for 27 years, Gloria Guard has worked relentlessly,
passionately through the People's Emergency Center to end family homelessness.
Gloria Guard's legacy is secure, and it is magnificent.
See The Video
Gloria's Place Opening Part 1 -
Gloria's Place Opening Part 2
This website contains information about Gloria Guard, 1945 - present,
and serves to act as a virtual library about her work and her family.