Many neighborhoods in Philadelphia have experienced dramatic improvement of late, but the city still has a remarkable blight problem. Depending on who you ask, we've got somewhere between forty and sixty thousand vacant blighted properties scattered around Philadelphia. Demolition costs for all those properties would easily exceed $500M, even conservatively. A new non-profit has an idea that could offer Philadelphia some help with its blight problem with the added benefit of helping ex-convicts get back to work.

Baltimore Avenue blight

The mission of Philadelphia Community Corps is to deconstruct blighted properties, salvaging as much as possible, using a work force of primarily individuals who were previously incarcerated. This effort has a positive impact in many ways. The impact of removing a blighting influence from a block or neighborhood is self-evident. Broken windows theory suggests that even one vacant property on a block has a disproportionately negative influence. Also, PCC is giving ex-convicts an important chance to reenter the work force when many other possible employers won't. The skills gained from working at PCC could be transferable to the construction business, helping with future prospects as well.

Ridge Ave. blight

PCC recently started working on their first project, the demolition of nine properties near La Salle, in partnership with Philadelphia Salvage Company. And they hope to pursue other projects in the near future. In order to do so, they need an infusion of cash, so they're attempting a Kickstarter Campaign to raise $29K. The money raised from this effort will allow them to pay their workers in the future, purchase a truck, buy some tools, and perhaps most importantly acquire safety equipment to ensure that everyone comes off the job with ten fingers and toes.

If you think this sounds like a great concept and want to help, click here to donate. PCC isn't going to solve Philadelphia's blight problem. But we can help them make a dent, and help people get back on their feet at the same time.