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Our mission is to teach underserved citizens to revitalize blighted neighborhoods by deconstructing vacant buildings and salvaging their materials for reuse.
The Ultimate Goal
The goal of Philadelphia Community Corps deconstruction job training program is to develop a workforce capable of reversing Philadelphia’s abandoned housing blight, so that someday all Philadelphians can live in a safe neighborhood free from the malignant effects of blight.
Groups We Assist
Philadelphia Community Corps is essentially the teacher of a specialty. As a bridge program in the job training pipeline, we want to work with any group of underserved or underemployed citizens, in particular, citizens returning from incarceration, at-risk youth, the homeless, addicts, and veterans. Deconstruction is an ideal entry level job training opportunity, and by employing these at-risk populations we can solve two of Philadelphia’s biggest problems, the unemployed and the blighted housing, by teaching the former to take on the latter.
The Needs Our Work Addresses
Deconstruction employs 7 times as many workers as demolition, and can divert up 90% of materials for reuse. Our Theory of Change is that as our trainees are removing blighted housing from a neighborhood we’re putting job skills, wages, and affordable building materials back in. That’s how we kickstart revitalization. We’re going to turn the abandoned housing blight on its head and use it as an engine for economic recovery and growth.
Finally, by operating a reusable building material drop off center we’ll provide complimentary service that will fund our job training program, keep reusable materials out of landfills, and create a reliable supply of affordable reclaimed building materials for Philadelphia. Also, secondary markets created in response to our our material stream will employ even more workers, and make the rehabilitation of many properties in low-income neighborhoods more cost-effective.
The abandoned housing spread throughout Philadelphia provides shelter for criminal activity of every kind. As we remove the blighted houses we expect to see the rates of crime, disease/illness, fires, sexual assaults, squatting, and pollution plummet. At the same time, we expect to see property values, literacy rates, mental health, tax revenue, and overall attitudes about each neighborhood improve.
The Next 3-5 Years
Over the next 3-5 years Philadelphia Community Corps plans to work with the City of Philadelphia to become its go-to architectural salvager. Initially we’re looking for a pilot project, wherein the city will transfer an vacant nuisance property it owns to the Philadelphia Community Corps for removal. Once we’ve demonstrated what we can do when given properties, we want to maintain a constant supply of properties from the city for deconstruction, as well as increasing the number of salvage jobs we take on with for-profit partners.
By year 4-5 we want to export the Philadelphia Community Corps job training program to other cities dealing with abandoned housing blight in the Philadelphia region, such as Camden, Chester, and Norristown.
- Greg Trainor
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