Our History


THE FOUNDER of Acts Christian Transitional Services is Reverend Dr. Marlella Elizabeth Gantt, noted Preacher/Teacher, and a native of Philadelphia. In 1976 she established a non-profit corporation known as Acts Christian Transitional Service (A.C.T.S.). Read the biography of Reverend Dr. Marlella Elizabeth Gantt.

ACTS CHRISTIAN TRANSITIONAL SERVICES began as a ministry of Acts of the Apostles Church in Jesus Christ in 1976 by opening its doors to the abused women and children who came to the Church seeking refuge. Then in 1978, ACTS began providing assistance to the mentally handicapped and the elderly by providing residency, nursing care, case management and recreational activities.

Group of Children Smiling Concept

In 1986, the City of Philadelphia approached our agency and asked us to join the umbrella of homeless shelters that would provide services to the clients who came through the Office of Supportive Housing. In November of 1986, ACTS CHRISTIAN TRANSITIONAL SERVICES opened its doors as a homeless shelter for families and single women. From the very beginning, ACTS strived to IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE for our residents. ACTS provides a safe, drug free, comfortable and supportive environment for the individuals coming through the OSH System.

In February of 1990, ACTS expanded its program with the introduction of an Individualized Social Service Plan for each resident. Programming for the residents is designed to dismantle the vicious cycles that cripple our homeless population, and in particular those who are suffering from substance abuse and chronic disorders.

In April of 1993, we opened PHASE II of ACTS, which is earmarked for those individuals currently in residence at our Master Street Facility. These residents have three or more months of sobriety, are actively participating in the community and have been consistently following their Service Plans. These residents maintain their own building, run their own house meetings, have extended curfew privileges and are assigned to the Aftercare Case Manager.

Since its inception, ACTS has been a pioneer in the development of programming and collaboration with other supportive service agencies seeking to assist the homeless:

  • Pennfree pilot site for families and single women
  • Assisted in the development of the School Districts Homeless Student Initiative
  • Pilot site for PHMC Healthcare for the Homeless project and the Case Management project
  • Pilot site for the Nutritional Development Project for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
  • Advisory council for the Girl Scouts of the Greater Philadelphia "Our Time" program for children in shelters and serves as a pilot site
  • Pilot site for the Aids Community education project with HIV specialist in shelter

ACTS is an agency that is willing and has proven itself able to progress programmatically with the needs of the residents.

From July 1993 to December 2003 - ACTS accepted the responsibility of managing the OESS Family Shelter known as Woodstock. Along with the need to establish services for the 70 adult population of the facility, we created a structured program for the 185 children which included school registration assistance, tutoring, youth case management, age appropriate support groups, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, recreational programming, counseling and an on-site preschool program.

In 1998 we joined forces with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health/Mental Retardation Services (DBH/MRS) - formerly known as the Coordinating Office for Drug & Alcohol Abuse Programs (CODAAP) to facilitate a Support (Recovery) House for adult women in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery Programs, in addition to women who were recently incarcerated.

From January 2004 to January 7, 2006 - ACTS provided service to 70 adults and 80 children daily, and the services that we provided were directly related to the needs of the adults and children in our facility.

On January 8, 2006 - ACTS was displaced due to a three alarm fire and relocated into a closed Philadelphia School District building until January 20, 2008. Upon return to our home site we operated from our smaller building that housed 12 adults and 36 children. On July 1, 2008 we expanded to our larger facility and increased our numbers to 55 adults and 95 children, which we currently maintain on a daily basis.

We will continue to explore and find ways to expand our base of services so that we can provide our clients with a holistic and comprehensive supportive service as they go through their transitional period.