The active People’s Emergency Center (PEC) in West Philadelphia has taken on yet another role.
Last April the Office of Housing and Community Development put out a call for Neighborhood Advisory Committees (NAC). NACs are OHCD funded programs run by community organizations and intended to connect residents with city services by providing information and referral services. Seventeen organizations were selected to continue running their NAC programs, and two new organizations were selected for first-time OHCD NAC funding.
PEC is one of the two new organizations to receive funding, and the NAC at PEC is up, running and already busy.
PEC already provides an array of community services - things like emergency, traditional and permanent housing for women with children, life skills training, job training and placement, food pantry, expungement clinics, corridor development and more. Now the NAC program, run by coordinator Ariel Diliberto, will build upon that work.
While PEC housing residents have had help from case workers, residents in the broader community have not had a dedicated advocate to connect them with services that the City and other agencies provide. Diliberto will fill that role.
“It could be said that I work as a community caseworker, seeking residents’ issues through to their resolution,” Diliberto said in an email.
She’ll assist residents in PEC NAC service area (32nd to 48th streets, Market Street to Mantua Ave.) with things like homebuyer and housing assistance, property-based issues like vacant property, illegal dumping and potholes and more. She will help residents fill out applications for programs including the Property Tax & Rent Rebate Program, Senior Real Estate Tax Freeze, Homestead Exemption and Low-Income Installment Plan.
In 2015 PEC will create a Neighborhood Advisory Subcommittee comprised of residents elected to advise the NAC’s work. The subcommittee will provide feedback on unmet neighborhood needs and serve as general community liaisons.
Under the NAC contract, OHCD will provide funding for one-and-a-half staff and all administrative costs of running the program.
For now the NAC is based at PEC’s Rowan House, 325 N. 39th Street, but Diliberto is in the process of setting up satellite office locations to better reach residents throughout the service area. Residents looking to utilize NAC services can call Diliberto at 215-840-5103 or email her at .
From 2012-2014 Christine covered transportation, writing about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments sent her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covered community news for Eyes on the Street, where her work ranged from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website.