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Posted July 17, 2014

Temple partners with city to create education and training opportunities for North Philadelphia

Betsy Manning
Norris Apartments located in North Philadelphia, adjacent to Temple University.

Temple will commit $1 million to create educational programs and career training for the Norris Apartments community in North Philadelphia.

The funds will supplement a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant obtained by the city of Philadelphia from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revitalize north central Philadelphia.

Through a partnership with the College of Education and the Center for Social Policy and Community Development in the College of Health Professions and Social Work, Temple will provide support to neighborhood schools and assist high school students as they prepare for college or the workforce after graduation.

“Improving the lives of children and their families through education and providing the resources that will help them succeed are central to our mission,” said Gregory M. Anderson, dean of the College of Education.

Temple also will hire an educational engagement coordinator and create a pre-K and after-school program for neighborhood children attending Paul L. Dunbar and Tanner Duckrey Elementary schools and a college career-readiness program for students attending Benjamin Franklin High School.

In addition to offering educational enrichment, a new workforce and education center housed in the Paseo Verde apartments will provide the space required to offer a full range of job-training and employment-placement-counseling programs and services.

“Communities are about more than the bricks and mortar,” said Shirley Moy, co-director of the Center for Social Policy and Community Development. “In order to make real changes you have to help the entire community; this is a comprehensive approach to creating a more cohesive neighborhood.”

Located just beyond Temple’s eastern campus boundary at 11th Street, the Norris Apartments public-housing project is in need of restructuring and repair.

In total, Philadelphia’s Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant funding will create 300 new units of housing, including 147 new and refurbished units at the Norris Apartments site, 600 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs.

“This grant is critical to our comprehensive revitalization strategy,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. “It will help us address many of the serious challenges facing this community: poverty, unemployment, poor educational attainment and decreased opportunities for residents.”

The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. It is designed to stimulate critical improvements in neighborhood assets, including vacant property, housing, services and schools.

Work on the project is scheduled to begin in early 2015 and is expected to take at least five years to complete.

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