When Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia began working in Sharswood, our Neighborhood Revitalization target area, we asked ourselves, how could we best serve residents?
A partnership with the Brewerytown Sharswood Neighborhood Advisory Committee (the NAC) helped cultivate a support system committed to listening and understanding the neighborhood assets and residents’ most pressing issues.
Habitat Philadelphia began neighborhood revitalization work in Sharswood, North Philadelphia in 2015 shifting our impact on families in three ways. First, we moved from working in neighborhoods to working with neighborhoods. Second, we expanded our services in a community to include other public realm building activities, such as updating the Athletic Recreational Center, moving the North Philadelphia Peace Park, and working with local churches on repairs to their buildings. Lastly, and perhaps most drastically, we committed to working with a coalition of residents and organizations towards gains in sectors beyond just housing and construction.
What does that mean?
Habitat Philadelphia’s neighborhood revitalization work is deeply rooted in building partnerships. It seeks to improve the quality of life of residents in a community. It is more than a program, but rather, a philosophy that builds upon the gifts, dreams, and concerns that residents have about their neighborhood—not building for residents, but alongside residents to empower communities to drive and sustain their neighborhood. A robust partnership with Sharswood’s anchor community organization, the Brewerytown Sharswood NAC makes it possible for us to make this philosophy a reality.