SELF Inc.’s CEO devoted a lifetime to protecting homeless
Chief Executive Officer of SELF Inc. of Philadelphia Michael S. Hinson Jr., a leading Black LGBTQ, AIDS, and homelessness activist in Philadelphia, died August 27 at Penn Rittenhouse Hospice. He was 55. SELF Inc. is the parent company of Outley House Men’s Shelter at Woodland Avenue and 70th Street in Southwest which has been the home and haven for literally thousands of homeless men over the years
Mike moved to Philadelphia after growing up in South Carolina. He worked with Black AIDs victims at the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force and was an early volunteer with BEBASHI, one of the first Black AIDS service organizations in the 1980s. Founding Colours Magazine, Mike was the first director of the Colours Organization and AIDS service agency. He was also a co-founder of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride.
In 2000, Mayor John F. Street appointed Michael as his liaison with the city LGBTQ+ communities and was also Street’s policy advisor on a wide range of issues.
He helped ensure that gender identity became protected under the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance. He also served as an adjunct professor at Cheyney University.
In recent years Hinson served as the CEO of SELF, Inc., the city’s largest provider of emergency and transitional housing, which doubled in size under his leadership and included development of A Way Home, a transitional housing program for LGBTQ people.
In a statement, SELF, Inc. Board Chair and former mayor W. Wilson Goode said, “Mike was a soldier and leader for righteousness, in the truest sense. A champion for marginalized communities, and a selfless public servant for many causes, Mike’s empowering voice and action helped elevate the work of SELF in the public policy leadership space — all while keeping the dignity and respect of people first. We grieve Mike’s passing, but we are better human beings because we shared his presence. We will miss his leadership, but he has left a legacy of passionate advocacy for us to share and follow.”
(Information and quotes for this article was excerpted by Ted Behr for the Globe Times from a press release from SELF Inc. and a Phila. Inquirer article, “Playing ping pong with Philadelphia’s Homeless” by Stacey Burling, June 28, 2018)