A collaborative of Kensington and Fairhill service providers, including New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), HACE, and IMPACT Services Corporation, has been awarded $1,000,000 total over three years through the Innovations in Community-Based Crime Reduction Program, part of the Office of Justice Programs of the United States Department of Justice.
The Collaborative aims to reduce crime through a multi-sector, strengths-based approach that improves social connections and community trust. At its core is a resilient and compassionate community and entrenched service providers whose involvement will be crucial to the success of this project.
The project area—bounded by Front Street to the west, Frankford Avenue to the east, Allegheny Avenue to the north, and Lehigh Avenue to the south—is host to many violent and drug-related crime hotspots.
“In Philadelphia we know that complicated problems require collaborative solutions,” said Felix Torres-Colon, Executive Director of NKCDC. “For years, HACE, IMPACT and NKCDC have worked to support our Kensington and Fairhill neighbors and help bring their vision for improving their communities to life. With everything neighbors are enduring today, the last thing we want to do is duplicate efforts. The Department of Justice understands the connection between crime, social cohesion and the physical environment, and we are honored to receive this grant, which will advance our community development work together.”
The Collaborative will undertake a 9 to 12-month planning phase in which it will collect baseline data, convene diverse groups of stakeholders and community anchors, and determine how to best step forward in advancing the project goals of increasing collective efficacy, strengthening collaboration between the police and community members, and reducing physical disorder.
Integral to these goals are increased youth involvement and a trauma-informed model of community engagement, both of which offer alternatives to the cycles of violence and poverty currently perpetuated in the neighborhood. Key analysis will be conducted by a research partner, the Rutgers University Center for Urban Research and Education.
As its first step, the collaborative has posted a full-time employment opportunity for a Community Engagement Project Manager for this grant. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 1. Residency and experience working in Kensington are strongly preferred.
This project was made possible with the support of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the Managing Director’s Office, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, the 24th and 25th Police Districts, Temple University, and Rutgers University.