Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) works to create an equitable city where every Philadelphian lives, works, and thrives in a neighborhood that offers an excellent quality of life. As a membership association, we foster strong community development corporations and non-profit community organizations by enhancing their skills and advocating for resources and policies to create a just and inclusive Philadelphia. PACDC has over 60 community development corporation (CDC) member organizations throughout the city that work to address housing insecurity directly in their neighborhoods through a range of anti-poverty and direct-service strategies. PACDC works to build these organizations’ capacity to serve their communities. We are currently in the process of designing, developing, and incorporating new programs and services that will help CDCs better address the issue of housing insecurity across Philadelphia. We have solicited input from individual CDC housing counselors as well as their agencies around the types of capacity building services that would be most useful for increasing their impact. PACDC is dedicated to strengthening a citywide network of community-based organizations that come together to organize and advocate, share experiences and information, and learn from each other to increase their impact in the communities they serve.
The VISTA will help PACDC address housing insecurity in low-income Philadelphia communities by strengthening the ability of community-based CDCs to provide high-quality, accessible services to low-income families and individuals. They will design and test capacity-building programs to support increased CDC skills, talent, networks, and resources, and will help us identify the most effective strategies for growing the collective impact of our network of member organizations. Specifically, the VISTA will: (1) design a “community of practice” model for CDC housing counselor professional development; (2) develop a “train the trainer” curriculum for skill-building targeted to frontline CDC staff; (3) establish evaluation metrics and collect baseline data from participating CDCs and housing counselors; and (4) create a set of goals and workplan for PACDC staff and our partners to improve broad accessibility/awareness of CDC anti-poverty services in Philadelphia.