photo of Chris Sprowal as president of Union of the Homeless

chris sprowal

Dublin Core


photo of Chris Sprowal as president of Union of the Homeless
Downtown CORE members


Downtown CORE members


This is a photo of Chris Sprowal on the cover of the November 1986 issue of the news magazine, City Limits. By the early 1980’s, a failed marriage ultimately led him to return to Philadelphia, drug addiction and homelessness.

Rather than stay down and out, he began to organize among the homeless in Philadelphia. He was one of the founders of the Committee for Dignity and Fairness for the Homeless. This led to the creation of the Dignity Shelter, the only shelter in the country founded and run by homeless people. MTV in connection with Bruce Springsteen held a 24 hour telethon on MTV in 1986 to help raise funds for Sprowal’s organizations.

Sprowal’s was also one of the founding members and president of the National Union for the Homeless, one of the largest advocacy groups for the homeless in the country. At a time when the the issue of homelessness had taken on epic proportions, Sprowal was seen as a national spokesman and tireless activist on behalf of the homeless. He was cfrequently featured in the news perhaps more so that when he was a member of CORE.

By the 1990’s, Sprowal eventually drifted in and out of drug addiction again to the extent that he was removed from the Dignity organizations he founded and helped lead. Regardless, it is clear that his time in CORE had a transformative effect on his life and that his career in politics and as an activist is an evolution of his experience in CORE. To use an idea borrowed from Dr. Nishani Frazier, his history should be seen as an example of the transformative nature of CORE.


Bill Goidell


City Limits, Nov. 1986


City Limits


Bill Goidell





Bill Goidell, “photo of Chris Sprowal as president of Union of the Homeless,”, accessed May 26, 2024,

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