The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Its goal is to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into functioning, sustainable mixed-income communities.
In Philadelphia the key is the Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan for North Central Philadelphia. The purpose of the Plan is to implement a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy.
It also did not develop in a vacuum. The Plan complements the Philadelphia2035 Plan, ensuring that plans for North Central fit in a citywide context.
Challenges and Strengths
North Central Philadelphia is a neighborhood of challenges and strengths. It is home to poverty, distressed housing and poor health outcomes, but there are employment, transit and retail opportunities on which to build.
The Transformation Plan was built with significant stakeholder engagement. A community planning process helped to identify resident priorities for their neighborhood.
The Plan did not start from scratch. It builds on previous goals developed through 10 years of resident-driven planning.
The Plan is actually three plans – a Neighborhood Plan, a Housing Plan and a People Plan. These coordinated strategies are a road map to community revitalization.
The Neighborhood Plan builds on existing neighborhood assets. It addresses issues of livability, safety, housing choice, schools, services and vacant land.
The Housing Plan—revised in June 2015—will create high-quality housing opportunities throughout the neighborhood. Some of the new housing will replace the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s outdated Norris Homes.
The People Plan is grounded in a one-stop-shop service delivery model. It includes an Education Strategy that will develop an Education Plan for each Norris Homes family with school-aged children.
The North Central Philadelphia Transformation Plan is a resident-driven comprehensive strategy linking neighborhood, housing and people-focused initiatives to transform an entire community. A complete overview of the original Plan is available. Visit the North Central Choice website.