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Welcome to LAI Philly’s exclusive programming, Philadelphia: The City of Neighborhoods. At our kick-off event, our speakers will be discussing the Kensington neighborhood. Located in the Lower Northeast area of Philadelphia, Kensington was once known as a vibrant, industrial hub of Philadelphia. Factories and Mills were humming, with Kensington the center of textile production in both Philadelphia and the United States. However, de-industrialization in Philadelphia, beginning in the 1950s, led to significant population loss, high unemployment rates, rapid economic decline, and neighborhood and housing abandonment in Kensington.
All of this, in turn, led to problems of homelessness and drug addiction, with the New York Times attaching to the neighborhood the infamous “Walmart of Heroin” moniker in the October 2018 issue of the NYT Magazine. In that feature article, one of our 2 speakers, Liz Hersh, was quoted regarding the issues of homelessness in the neighborhood. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/magazine/kensington-heroin-opioid-phi...
All is not lost, though, as redevelopment sprouts up in the neighborhood, with developers such as Shift Capital leading the way. Shift, a leader of impact development projects, has invested in re-energizing the neighborhoods in Kensington North of Lehigh Avenue, including re-developing the commercial corridor along Kensington Avenue. http://shiftcapital.us/2018/09/17/building-cleaner-safer-neighborhoods-a.... Tony Ewing, a principal of Shift Capital, will speak with us about re-development in the neighborhood.
Please join us as our 2 distinguished speakers will talk about the problems and promise of Kensington. As always, Q&A to follow the discussion.
Liz Hersh, as the Director of the Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS), leads the City’s $79 million homeless system in its mission of making homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring. Since her appointment in 2016 OHS has engaged the business community through Shared Public Spaces, expanded daytime services including the Hub of Hope, tripled homelessness prevention, added over 100 permanent housing units, housed 450 chronically homeless individuals, expanded Rapid Re-Housing for families and launched an internal system transformation to focus on being housing-first, person-centered, trauma-informed and data-driven.
Liz is a native Philadelphian from West Mt. Airy who now lives in the house she grew up in. She earned her Masters Degree from the University of Chicago before returning to Philadelphia.
Tony Ewing leads Shift Capital’s development and construction teams, guides strategic initiatives, helps forge new partnerships, and collaborates on new acquisition opportunities, all to further Shift’s investments in economic and community development. Prior to joining Shift, Tony spent 15 years at Liberty Property Trust, including serving as Vice President, Leasing & Development. Tony graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.