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Community Development

The Office for Community Development serves as the community development corporation (CDC) for the Visitation Gateway Neighborhood in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. We believe that the keys to community development are recognizing and celebrating diversity and building relationships. Central to our approach is providing resources to community members so they can articulate a vision for the future and realize that vision.

The Visitation Gateway Neighborhood has been a home to poor, working class immigrants since the arrival of Irish and German families at the turn of the century. While descendants of these first residents remain, today the neighborhood is a vibrant mix of cultures, including a well-established Latino community and a growing Asian community. The departure of industry from the neighborhood, an aging housing stock, and shuttered businesses has led to an increase in the presence of blight, illegal and undesirable activities, vacant buildings, a lack of green space, and concerns for safety. However, residents still hope for and are actively working on making their neighborhood a safe home for them and their children.

In 2009, we worked with over 100 community residents and stakeholders to develop the Visitation Gateway Neighborhood Strategic Plan and now are actively working to implement that plan in partnership with other community organizations. Below are a few of the projects highlighted by the neighborhood plan that the Office for Community Development is currently working on:

Physical Improvements

  • Senior Housing
  • Mixed-use Development
  • Community Plaza
  • Cleaning and Greening
  • Storefront Upgrades
  • Affordable Family Housing
  • Streetscape Improvements

Community Organizing

  • Anti-litter & Graffiti Efforts
  • Town Watch
  • Lehigh Viaduct Coalition
  • Healthy Food Coalition
  • Outreach to Trafficked Workers
  • Block Captain Organizing
  • Neighborhood Clean Ups

Please contact us using the tab at the top of this page if you have any questions about any of these projects.