More About History
New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) was founded in 1985 by leaders of a Fishtown neighborhood association to meet housing needs in the community. Our first ten years focused on rehabilitating vacant homes and providing utility assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyer help and other housing counseling services.
Through a neighborhood planning process in 1995, NKCDC was challenged to address additional quality-of-life issues. In 1996, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), we became the region’s first organization to use vacant land management as a strategy for neighborhood revitalization. In recognition of our work to clean and maintain hundreds of vacant lots, NKCDC received a Best Practices Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the City of Philadelphia adopted our model through the PHS LandCare Program.
Growth and Recognition
In 1999, NKCDC added an economic development program to support artists and entrepreneurs, stimulate small business growth and bolster local employment opportunities. In 2001, NKCDC became the Neighborhood Advisory Committee for the community, a program of Philadelphia’s Division of Housing and Community Development. That same year NKCDC was named a chartered member of NeighborWorks America, a congressionally-funded network of more than 240 community development organizations across the country.
NKCDC became the first organization to complete a multi-use funding initiative through a Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s pilot program in 2005. That year, NKCDC also completed the first home repair project under the City of Philadelphia’s Targeted Basic System Repair Program. Coral Street Arts House, a 2005 redevelopment of an abandoned textile mill in East Kensington, became the region’s first project to combine low-income housing with artist live-work space, winning a Grand Jury Award from the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance.
With the completion of the North of Lehigh Neighborhood Revitalization Plan in 2013, NKCDC shifted its primary focus from Fishtown to Kensington, completing the $17.8 million Orinoka Civic House redevelopment of a former textile factory in 2017, and renting its 51 affordably-priced apartments.
Today, NKCDC offers housing services to all Philadelphia residents; maintains more than 900 vacant parcels throughout North Philadelphia; and provides small business resources, neighborhood planning, leadership development and community support across the Kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond neighborhoods. Each year we serve more than 20,000 low- and moderate-income families and 60,000 residents.