Staff grateful for no injuries
In the middle of a busy January, programming at NKCDC’s new Empowerment Hub was abruptly interrupted by a driver who lost control of his car on Somerset Street. The car plunged through the glass and metal front of the building that houses NKCDC offices and 51 affordable apartments. But no one was in the Hub at the time of the crash, no one was hit on the sidewalk near the building’s main entrance, and the driver walked away from the scene.
“We are so glad no one was hit,” said Jayda Stanford-Collier, who is in charge of programming the space. “We host about 20 events each month.”
The Empowerment Hub opened in September and activity has increased steadily since then.
- Community Legal Services of Philadelphia ran two workshops on wills and estate planning for homeowners.
- Philadelphia Department of Revenue held a workshop on property tax relief.
- Community Health Worker trainees and NKCDC staff organized a social for seniors and a craft day for children.
- At Thanksgiving, the Hub hosted a food drive and giveaway where more than 75 neighborhood families chose from fresh fruits and vegetables as well as turkeys and other seasonal products.
“The Hub fills two needs,” said NKCDC’s new Vice President of Programs, Roberta R. Dubuclet. “It provides a central location where residents can access multiple services, and it provides low-cost meeting and event space to organizations serving Kensington who may not have office space here.”
“We had about 10 events lined up,” Stanford-Collier said. She is currently trying to reschedule or find alternative space for as many partners as possible.
Team effort speeds cleanup
Thanks to quick cooperation, many of the scheduled events will stay on the calendar. Before the offices closed on January 19, the car was towed, a team of Corridor Stewards and Community Health Workers removed the mangled metal and swept up the broken glass, and a crew arrived to board up the opening.
Permanent repairs will happen in as little as a few weeks. In the meantime, an adjacent community room will host free income tax preparation with Campaign for Working Families, By February 18, Brenda Mosley is planning her Healing the Heart through the Arts for the restored space. On February 25, Early Life Academy will stage a children’s prom in both the Hub and Community Room.
“The Empowerment Hub is an extension of NKCDC’s comprehensive community development model,” Dr. McKinney said. “Barriers to benefits access or economic support are also barriers to community engagement and neighborhood revitalization. It is challenging to ask neighbors to commit time to community planning if they currently live in unstable housing or are struggling to put food on the table.”
Organizations interested in offering free community services through the Hub can reach Jayda at email@example.com or 215-427-0350 x127. Individuals and businesses who want to support the Hub’s work financially may go to nkcdc.org/donate.