The purpose of the NTCDC/NAC is to reduce and prevent homelessness by serving neighborhoods/census tracts with at least 51% low to moderate income residents. Activities of the NTCDC/NAC are intended to address and prevent crises related to poverty and unemployment, while building self-reliance. Via our NAC Program, we deliver and serve an average of 1100 to 1200 requests per month.
The primary activities of the NTCDC/NAC includes:
Conducted throughout the service area distributing resource information, notifications, and providing access to direct services and referrals. This includes door to door canvassing, social media, telephone outreach, email and special events.
Canvassing and directly contacting owners of homes and properties in danger of sheriff sale or foreclosure. Owners are made aware of efforts set up to help them save their homes and properties.
Community meetings with pertinent topics presented in collaboration with City Officials, agencies, departments, community and faith based organizations.
The NTCDC/NAC newsletter (The Village Network) is a summary of NTDC/NAC resources, current events, notifications, important phone numbers, etc. The newsletter is primarily distributed electronically, and also available also via hard copy.
Data reports of neighborhood conditions and quantifying resource distribution. NTCDC/NAC staff engages and assists the NTCDC/Neighborhood Advisory Subcommittee. (NTCDC/NAS) To be nominated to run in the NTCDC/NAS Election, you must have lived/served and attended community meetings in the service area for at least 3 years.
The NTCDC/NAC service area boundaries are defined by 15 census tracts: 203 to 205; 276 to 284; and 265-267. The Nicetown Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NTCDC/NAC) is a program of the Nicetown CDC, governed by the Division of Housing & Community Development. (DHCD) (Service Area Map)
Since 2009, the NTCDC has been contracted by the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) to operate a Neighborhood Energy Center. (NEC) We partner with and are contracted by the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) and the Dept. of Public Welfare (DPW) to provide direct utility bill assistance through the LIHEAP, Crisis, and Weatherization programs. We refer clients who may need additional financial assistance to pay their utility bills to other agencies and/or community organizations that can assist. Since initiating our Neighborhood Energy Center in 2005, the Nicetown CDC has provided thousands of households with direct grants and free budget and energy counseling.
The Nicetown CDC has provided a computer lab free to the community since 2006. The Nicetown CDC partnered with the City Office of Innovation & Technology “KeySpot”, to expand the capacity of the computer lab. This allows us to join a City-wide network of KeySpot sites to share best practices, provide classes and resource opportunities. We also are a member of PhillyCam, which further enhances our communication and outreach capacity via social media, blogs, television, internet radio and other media.
The Nicetown CDC’s Keyspot computer lab space is where residents can be comfortable using computers to do job search, homework and trainings. and enhance their skills. It is utilized by individuals seeking employment, students that need to complete academic requirements, and also for communication and training opportunities. This allows us to expand our outreach efforts to parts of the community in and beyond our primary service area.
An important activity in the NTCDC KEYSPOT has been hosting neighborhood liaison training with Philly311. Through this training, residents including block captains as well as committee and community members, learned to properly record resident reports and enter them into the Philly 311 system for follow up.
The Nicetown CDC KEYSPOT makes our computer lab more capable and “user-friendly”.
Since 2002, the Nicetown CDC has made fighting poverty and food insecurity a priority and both remain challenges today. In partnership with the SHARE Program, and the Black Male Community Council of Philadelphia, (BMCCP) the Nicetown CDC has provided thousands of meals to seniors and families. Food distribution days at the NTCDC Community Center at 4300 Germantown Avenue are on the 2nd Thursday of the month. The BMCCP food distribution is every Friday at the entrance of Nicetown Park.
The Nicetown CDC Community Center is a worksite for the Philadelphia Youth Network. (PYN) In collaboration with the Allegheny West Foundation, youth are hired to work at the Nicetown CDC in various community based activities. This includes community engagement/outreach and working with local businesses.
The Nicetown CDC provides on-site direct Supportive Services for the residents in Nicetown Court I & II developments. Residents obtain assistance with their needs and maintain relationships with the Supportive Services Coordinator. Information and notifications are regularly shared with residents to ensure awareness about resources and activities and encourages interaction with neighbors.
The Nicetown CDC has been contracted by the City of Philadelphia and PA Horticultural Society (PHS) to maintain vacant lots in North/Northwest Philadelphia for nearly 15 years. Beginning first with a small initial contract with parcels of land to maintain, the Nicetown CDC learned how to purchase landscaping equipment, manage and maintain vacant land. This allowed us to build and expand our capacity to manage our land care operations. We leveraged our own private Landscaping Company that maintains scattered sites. We hire and train local individuals to be a part of our Land Maintenance Crews. The goals of our Community Land Care/Land Maintenance programs is to stabilize, maintain and prepare vacant parcels for future development. The program also engages community residents as stewards in the care and maintenance of vacant land on their blocks and open spaces. Our crews work directly with community residents, businesses and other stakeholders to clean, green, maintain and beautify the neighborhoods we serve.
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The Nicetown CDC is contracted by PHS to implement the Same Day Work & Pay Program, which allows them to hire individuals to clean targeted areas of neighborhoods and get paid $100 cash for a day’s work. The Nicetown CDC has operated this program since late 2020, and have since hired nearly 200 individuals to work, with many more on the waiting list for the opportunity. Workers also get access to the many resources and services available from the Nicetown CDC.
Some SDWP workers have gone on to obtain full and part-time jobs, including with the Nicetown CDC Land Care and Corridor Cleaning programs. SDWP has been very well received by the community, who are so thankful and pleased when they see the SDWP workers coming on their blocks. They have testimonials from community residents who have given them cakes, refreshments, promises to cook dinner and even a certificate of appreciation from a neighborhood group. The Nicetown CDC SDWP program has been instrumental in removing tons of trash and debris from the streets, residential blocks and parks in Nicetown and surrounding neighborhoods. It is an impactful and beneficial program that addresses problems with trash, litter and short dumping to improve neighborhood conditions and encourage neighbors to work with them to sustain it.
The Community Garden to the rear of the NTCDC Community Center & NAC Office and Steele Elementary School, is a 1.5-acre open space located in the 4200/4300 blocks of Germantown Avenue. In 2007, the NTCDC partnered with the Philadelphia Orchard Project to initiate the garden, with fig, cherry and hazelnut trees, strawberry vines and raised vegetable beds. The NTCDC established this community garden to maximize the potential for growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply in Nicetown and the surrounding neighborhoods, and in need as a nutritional resource. Plans included a greenhouse, sitting pavilion, dedicated water source, and farmer’s market. The goal is to establish this as a destination for community engagement and sharing, nutrition and greening education, and food production. Unfortunately, in 2017, the School District ordered pest extermination inside and outside Steel School which eventually destroyed the beautiful community garden in Nicetown. Despite this tremendous challenge, the Nicetown CDC is currently working with community partners to establish a beautiful, productive, multi-purpose urban farm in Nicetown.
Founded in 2021 by Master Gardener, teacher/track coach and Nicetown resident Jenia Jolley, this community garden is a unique gathering place for gardeners, youth, families and seniors alike. Located in the 1.5 acre open space to the rear of the Nicetown CDC Community Center and Steel Elementary School, this space is evolving to a multi-purpose urban farm with areas for learning, planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables. A myriad of flowers were planted and grow at Furtick Farms, which also features composting, watering systems and areas for entertainment as well as leisure. A Conceptual Plan is currently being implemented and various community partners and funding sources will help make Jenia Jolley’s dream of a farm for the community a reality.
The Give Back Festival
In 2002, the Nicetown CDC partnered with Nicetown native Ms. Jade, (Chevonne Young) to create the Give Back To The Community Festival. Ms. Jade was a popular artist in the entertainment industry who always wanted to have a community celebration in her neighborhood Stenton Park. She partnered with the Nicetown CDC and began calling her friends Chris & Neef, Freeway, Peedi Crack and other artists to help produce a special community event. The Give Back Festival drew crowds to Stenton Park, that enjoyed the entertainment, vendors, resources and recreation for youth and families. This was the beginning of what was to become the NicetownCDC’s signature event. Over the years, the Give Back was relocated to Nicetown Park, centralized on Nicetown’s business corridor. The event has since grown into a 2-day multi-cultural community festival, and is the Nicetown CDC’s signature event. The Give Back is not just another block party. It is a popular destination that appeals to large audiences – everyone from youth to seniors. Highlights include the ZAR Memorial Education Scholarships, Sons of Streetball, Ivan Robinson Amateur Boxing, Children’s Activities – and this year the Versus Fashion Show presented by Charles Gregory. The Health and Services Information Pavilion features more than thirty service providers with health screenings, service/ program information and giveaways. The Walk & Bike For Peace informs and brings awareness to violence prevention, emergency response, and voters education while inviting all to come and enjoy the Give Back. The highly anticipated Friday & Saturday Evening Concerts entertain and excite the audiences. This, along with our multi-cultural Vendors Merchandise and Food Bazaar will serve thousands over the two-day event. 2022 is the 20th Anniversary year for the Give Back Festival.
Friday Night at The Movies in Nicetown Park
The Nicetown CDC partners with Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to conduct family movie nights in Nicetown Park. This series of four movie showings draws families together to enjoy a community gathering. Vendors provide resource and service information for families, while they enjoy cotton candy, popcorn, water ice and other snacks before the movie starts at dusk. Children can also play in the newly redeveloped play areas while they wait for the movie to start. Parents can listen to the D.J, get resource and service information and enjoy being with other parents and children. These popular movies engage and entertain all who come to enjoy Nicetown Park with their family, friends and neighbors.