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“Report Card” highlights challenges, celebrates accomplishments in Eastern North

August 1, 2013

LISC and APM released the SCI Eastern North Report Card on Tuesday, chronicling two years of accomplishments of the comprehensive, collective impact approach to revitalizing Eastern North Philadelphia.

Hard working community organizers, social workers, teachers, nonprofit staff, community leaders, and volunteers took a little time away from their efforts at neighborhood change to celebrate the release together at Feast Your Eyes catering venue on Front St. Rustic, post-industrial art and warm breakfast welcomed the crew to the elegantly renovated old factory.

The report, entitled “Working Together,” demonstrates progress made in the community since the release of the Quality of Life Plan in 2011. At that time, APM and LISC engaged over 300 residents and 50+ organizations in identifying a neighborhood vision and developing priority implementation strategies.

Sidebyside

“No one should have to face life’s difficulties alone,” said LISC Director Andrew Frishkoff, who added that APM and LISC’s 20 year history, as well as the last two years have clearly shown that when we work together, anything is possible.

Featuring key neighborhood-level quality of life indicators, the Report Card provides a snapshot of the most recently available Eastern North facts and statistics, in comparison to the City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.  For example, the median income in Eastern North, as one speaker noted, remains lower than that of Philadelphia, but has increased twice as fast in this neighborhood than in the City as a whole over the last ten years.

The report also illustrates neighborhood-wide goals, where the community would like to be in 2020. In terms of income, as an example, the neighborhood would like to catch up with the City’s median rate, by attracting new businesses, renters, and homeowners to the neighborhood and providing financial and employment support services to residents through APM’s new Financial Opportunity Center.

“Ten years from now, no one will know this was a distressed community,” said Nilda Ruiz, President and CEO of APM, the organization LISC tapped as the lead or backbone agency for the collaborative and comprehensive Sustainable Communities Initiative in Eastern North.

In addition to highlighting neighborhood-level data, the Report Card also featured stories about how the initiative has impacted real people. Naida Montes reminded the crowd that sustainable development starts with development of people. “When you revitalize minds, you revitalize communities,” she said.

Finally, key accomplishments of organizations in the neighborhood were celebrated, including the following highlights:

  • More than 250 units of housing were built, repaired, or preserved.
  • Eastern North is now home to Paseo Verde, Philadelphia’s first Transit Oriented Development.
  • The neighborhood is seeking LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) recognition for establishing a model of coordinated green development projects in the Paseo Verde area – this would be the first LEEDND designation in the City of Philadelphia.
  • 20 new businesses, 79 new jobs were attracted to neighborhood corridors.
  • 120 residents were enrolled in FOC services, and 20 found employment
  • Over $1.8 million in federal and state tax returns were secured
  • Crime near 5th and York dropped nearly 50% from 2011 to 2012.
  • Over 2,000 children, youth and adults were engaged in community education (summer programs, after school programs, adult education programs, etc)
  • Over 200 residents have been engaged in QOL Plan Implementation or leadership development training since 2011.
  • The Community Connectors Registered 338 new voters and visited approximately 5 thousand households in the APM SCI EN service area
  • Over 750 youth were engaged in arts programs through organizations in Eastern North.

Check out the SCI Eastern North Report Card: Working Together.

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