This year in Kensington, the reality of the struggles around us and the challenges ahead came sharply into focus.
At NKCDC we dare to be hopeful because of a community—individuals; businesses; non-profit partners; local, state, and federal government—who surrounds us and lifts us up.
Thanks to investments from partners and friends years ago, we operate from a core of trauma-informed care and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. This strong center has allowed NKCDC to not just weather the storm of the last few years, but has positioned us as a vanguard organization, ready to drive solutions:
→ Rental Assistance
NKCDC supported 113 families in applying for Phase 4 Rental Assistance from the City of Philadelphia, and also provided direct rental assistance grants to 80 families. Combined support from private donors, government agencies, and businesses made the direct grants possible (donations from individuals made up more than 25% of the direct grants), and NKCDC layered in financial counseling and budgeting to set up families for stable housing in the future. The average grant covered one month’s rent, which ranged from $600 to $1200 per family. This onetime payment has been enough to lessen a renter’s delinquency to the point that NKCDC counselors can work out an affordable payment program with their landlord through the City of Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program.
→ Food Access and Nutrition
Sunday Suppers, a decade old Philadelphia food and nutrition program, became Nourish, a meal kit delivery service run by NKCDC—part of our expanding focus on health and wellness. In its first cohort, Nourish served 135 individuals with meal kit deliveries and virtual nutrition education. The team worked with block leaders from We CAN, a community safety partnership, to increase food access for over 100 families. Dedicated Sunday Suppers donors and those who continue to support Nourish make it possible for us to provide meals and fresh food to our neighbors, something not usually covered by government grants. In the coming months, the program will grow with the support of new SNAP-Education funding and our Community Health Worker training program to become part of a comprehensive new approach to address social determinants of health in Kensington.
→ Resident-Led Community Action
In March, SEPTA closed the Somerset Street station on the Market Frankford Line “indefinitely” due to safety and sanitation concerns. Organizing in solidarity with local community leaders, civic associations, and residents, we demanded that the historical root causes of the closure be acknowledged and addressed as part of the reopening plan. Thanks to the leadership of this community, the station reopened in under two weeks, and more importantly, a greater coalition of local leadership emerged and continues to advocate together with the City, SEPTA, partners, and funders.
Needs in Kensington can feel overwhelming. It is only with the support of individuals like you, and the government and foundation dollars that you help to leverage, that we “advance social equity and economic empowerment by nurturing and creating opportunities for residents to live in, and actively shape, their neighborhoods of choice.” Please join us in lifting up resident voices and rallying support for Kensington.
Dr. Bill McKinney
P.S. If you have already supported NKCDC this year, you have our sincere thanks. Many small gifts add up to something great. Thank you.