The Women’s Community Revitalization Project has been working to help better the lives of women and their families living in North Philadelphia. One of the organization’s latest efforts is the Campaign to take Back Vacant Land. The campaign is supported by over 40 community, labor and faith-based organizations.
Jill Feldstein is the organizing and advocacy coordinator for the Women’s Community Revitalization Project. She said that delinquent taxes and vacant land pose a big problem for the city and specifically for the North Philadelphia community.
“Vacant lots and abandoned buildings have left the community feeling helpless. It’s a point of pride and it’s time for the community to take it back,” Feldstein said.
The Actual Value Initiative has increased property values in the North Philadelphia area by significant amounts. Affordable housing is already an issue in the area and the vacant properties are limiting the development of affordable housing for residents.
“What does a neighborhood need? It needs affordability, it needs to be accessible, there should be access to fresh food and open green space for both beautification and communal purposes,” Feldstein said.
The Women’s Community Revitalization Project has played an active role in helping Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez prepare a bill for City Council on the creation of a Land Bank system.
The bill was introduced to City Council on March 7. There has not been a hearing on the bill yet.
“We would really like to see a hearing on the bill before City Council breaks in June but there has definitely been a lot of good work done so far,” Feldstein said.