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Community Profile: Reading, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

Community Organizations

This section provides information about affordable housing, social service, economic development, and community revitalization organizations in the area whose interests, activities, and initiatives improve the housing conditions and employment opportunities of residents. These groups represent potential partners for bankers seeking to more fully address the credit needs of each region's low- and moderate-income people and communities.

The information in this section is obtained directly from the websites of the community organizations.

Alliance for Building Communities (ABC)

Mission

To create community partnerships dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods by developing safe and affordable housing that fosters independent living and enhances the quality of life for seniors and families.

Year of Origin

A predecessor organization, the Lehigh Housing Development Corporation, was formed in 1975. In 1998, its organizational structure and name were changed to ABC to reflect the fact that the organization not only was developing affordable housing, but also was engaged in building communities.

Core Programs

  • Develops and rehabilitates affordable housing for low- and moderate income individuals and families
  • Owns and manages rental housing properties
  • Offers the Doorway to Homeownership Program, which assists families as they improve credit while saving to purchase their own homes and provides individualized training in budgeting, maintenance, and upkeep of properties
  • Collaborates with partners on community initiatives, such as a mural arts project
  • Created ENABLE (Empowering Neighborhoods and Building Livable Environments), a program designed to work at the grassroots level in a diverse neighborhood of Allentown to develop abandoned properties to help stabilize the community

Service Area

Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Carbon, Monroe, and Schuylkill counties.

Contact Information

Alliance for Building Communities
830 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101
Phone: (610) 439-7007
Fax: (610) 439-7888
E-mail: info@housingabc.org E-mail
Website: http://www.housingabc.org/ External Link

Berks Community Action Program (BCAP)

Mission

To provide services to low-income people enabling them to move from poverty to self-sufficiency

Year of Origin

1965

Core Programs

  • Financial counseling - Provides pre-purchase counseling for first-time home buyers, budget and debt counseling, and counseling concerning rent delinquency and mortgage default.
  • Mortgage and rental support - Provides help to families who face mortgage foreclosure or who need rental assistance.
  • Y.E.S. mentor program - In partnership with the Reading school district, pairs adult volunteers with children who need a mentor.
  • Weatherization program - Helps low-income families save on energy costs by providing insulation, caulking, weather-stripping, furnace tune-ups, and other energy-saving measures.
  • Employment training/case management programs - Offer various options for individuals who want to move from dependence to self-sufficiency.
  • Supported Work Program (SWP) - Provides job placement for those with limited education and work history.
  • Delegate and cooperative programs - Provides financial support to many agencies in Berks County that serve low-income residents.

Service Area

Berks County

Contact Information

Berks Community Action Program (BCAP)
518 Washington Street
P.O. Box 22
Reading, PA 19603
Phone: 610-376-6571
Fax: 610-376-0724
E-mail: ckoursaros@bcapberks.org E-mail
Website: none

Community First Fund

Mission

The Community First Fund creates economic growth for its communities by providing equitable financial services, technical knowledge, and advocacy for its customers.

Year of Origin

1992 (Originally called the Susquehanna Valley Community Development Loan Fund)

Core Programs

  • Operates the Women’s Business Center, which provides training, customized business counseling, loan capital, and advocacy support to small-business enterprises.
  • Provides a variety of loans to individuals and community-based organizations for starting or expanding small or mid-sized businesses, creating affordable housing units, or developing commercial spaces that will affect the community.

Service Area

13-county area in central Pennsylvania (Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, York)

Contact Information

Community First Fund

Main Office
30 West Orange Street
Lancaster, PA 17603

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 524, Lancaster, PA 17608-0524

Phone: (717) 393-2351
Fax: (717) 393-1757
E-mail: info@commfirstfund.org E-mail
Website: http://www.commfirstfund.org External Link

Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries (DLSM)

Mission

Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries demonstrates God's command to love thy neighbor through acts of service.

Year of Origin

1868

Core Programs

Offers senior living communities and a range of services for children, youths, families, and older adults

Service Area

Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware

Contact Information

Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries
Administrative Services Center
798 Hausman Road, Suite 300
Allentown, PA 18104-9108
Toll-Free: 877-342-5667
Phone: 610-682-1262
Fax: 610-682-1055
Website: http://www.diakon.org/Index.asp External Link

Hispanic Center

Mission

The Hispanic Center of Reading and Berks is a community-based organization that, through its professional, linguistic, and cultural skills, provides services to the Latino community in the city of Reading and throughout Berks County, both directly and in cooperation with other community service agencies and organizations.

Year of Origin

1969

Core Programs

  • Casa De La Amistad - A linguistically and culturally appropriate senior center that provides social, cultural, recreational, and educational activities (including English lessons).
  • Micro + Program - Micro-lending services for Hispanic small-business owners.
  • Abstinence Program - As part of a federal and state grant to the Pennsylvania Association of Latino Organizations (PALO), this program provides specialized instructional services to youth programs in the community.
  • The Hispanic Center Scholarship Fund - One or more scholarships are awarded annually to residents of Berks County who will be pursuing post-secondary, undergraduate education at an accredited institution and whose ethnic background originates from Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or Central or South America.
  • Prevention programs, including breast cancer prevention and tobacco cessation.
  • Berks Hispanic Leadership Institute - A two-year program designed to develop leaders in the Hispanic community.

Service Area

Berks County

Contact Information

Centro Hispano
PO Box 8652
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: (610) 376-3748
Fax: (610) 372-2619
E-mail: info@centrohispano.org E-mail
Website: www.centrohispano.org External Link

Housing Development Corporation (HDC)

Mission

To provide quality housing and expand residential opportunities for households with modest incomes. While HDC develops real estate for people of all economic levels, in addition to commercial use, it continues to strive to meet the growing demand for affordable housing.

Year of Origin

1971

Core Programs

  • Housing developer: Develops affordable housing through new construction, rehabilitation of older buildings, and preservation of existing affordable housing.
  • Property management: Manages rental units that are affordable to low- and moderate-income people.
  • Supportive services: Provide programs, services, and staffing to residents living in affordable housing that offer an opportunity to improve and enhance their quality of life and contribute to the overall stability of the community where they reside.
  • Administers the federally funded weatherization program by providing energy-saving services.
  • Development and training: Funds specialized training for volunteers and staff who work with low-income families, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

Service Area

Lancaster, Dauphin, Berks, York, Lebanon and Chester counties

Contact Information

Housing Development Corporation
439 East King Street
Lancaster PA 17602
Phone: (717) 291-1911
Fax: (717) 291-0987
Website: http://www.hdcweb.com/index.htm External Link

Neighborhood Housing Services of Reading (NHS of Reading)

Mission

Neighborhood Housing Services of Reading (NHS of Reading) is a neighborhood-based nonprofit housing agency that provides or facilitates affordable housing initiatives that will expand homeownership opportunities for all people of Berks County, especially low- and moderate-income families, and will contribute to community revitalization.

Year of Origin

1977

Core Programs

  • Operates a "full-cycle" Home Ownership Center that includes pre- and post-purchase counseling, home repair counseling, and credit/budget counseling. Financing is also available through the program.
  • Rehabilitates existing properties and constructs new homes for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
  • Provides foreclosure intervention assistance.
  • Sponsors the Neighborhood Building Initiative to improve the physical and social conditions in target neighborhoods.

Service Area

Berks County

Contact Information

Neighborhood Housing Services of Reading
213 N. 5th Street, Suite 1030
Reading, Pennsylvania 19601
Phone: (610) 372-8433
Fax: (610) 374-2866
Website: www.nhsreading.org External Link

Reading-Berks Habitat For Humanity

Mission

Reading-Berks Habitat for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) ecumenical Christian charitable organization that exists to create affordable homeownership opportunities with and for low-income families.

Year of Origin

1988

Core Programs

Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are used to build future Habitat houses.

Service Area

Berks County

Contact Information

Reading-Berks Habitat For Humanity
336 South 18th Street
Reading, PA 19602
Phone: (610) 373-3439
Fax: (610) 373-1010
E-mail: info@rbhabitat.org E-mail
Website: www.rbhabitat.org External Link

RiverPlace on the Schuylkill (RiverPlace Development Corporation)

Mission

To use the power of the Schuylkill River as a catalyst to unite communities and foster economic development.

Year of Origin

2004

Core Programs

  • Vision: Hold the community's common vision for waterfront-focused revitalization of the county's urban core as outlined in the RiverPlace master plan
  • Advocacy: Advocate for and raise awareness of RiverPlace as envisioned in the master plan
  • Activation: Bring people to the riverfront
  • Facilitation: In partnership with others, help facilitate public and private initiatives consistent with the master plan
  • Sustainability: Identify the funding necessary for operation, capital improvements, and maintenance, through grants, partnerships, tax-increment financing, etc. Establish a special assessment district to fund ongoing maintenance and security.

Service Area

Berks County urban core (portions of Reading, West Reading, Wyomissing, Kenhorst, and Bern, Cumru, and Spring townships)

Contact Information

RiverPlace on the Schuylkill
201 Washington Street, "The GoggleWorks," Suite 541
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: (610) 736-3900
Fax: (610) 736-3988
E-mail: Info@RiverPlacePA.com E-mail
Website: www.RiverPlacePA.com External Link

  • Last updated: August 31, 2008

E-Mail Notification

Find out when information for community development publications and events is released.

Contact Us

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Community Development Studies and Education Department
Ten Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1574

(215) 574-6458 – phone
(215) 574-2512 – fax
info.communitydevelopment
@phil.frb.org

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