Elected officials and community stakeholders request an immediate action plan and restorative investments in the Kensington neighborhood
Philadelphia, PA – Tuesday, June 30, 2020- In the wake of weeks of civil unrest, looting along the Kensington corridor, and the ongoing global pandemic, the Kensington community faces ever worsening conditions as Mayor Kenney’s administration and city departments refuse to address the ongoing public health crisis and the resulting unlivable conditions in the community. Kensington needs a plan, and Kensington community members and leaders demand answers, action, and strategic investments to ensure a safe summer for children and families.
Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez (7th District)said, “I just introduced a new resolution calling for further hearings and action to address this public health and safety crisis. Since I first introduced Resolution 180037, we have held four community hearings and worked together to develop a plan but the Kensington community has weathered three further years of a worsening crisis, bureaucratic inaction, and empty gestures. Basta ya — enough is enough!”
Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District) said, “Kensington is an area of the City that has been grossly underserved for years, the current plans and processes have not worked. We must invest heavily in the neighborhood to deliver the much needed services and support to help our residents with their quality of life issues. We must reverse the declining trend so that Kensington will be on a real road to recovery.”
Together with community leaders and stakeholders, Councilmember Sánchez has developed the Kensington Restorative Investment plan to bring needed investment and resources to the Kensington community. Kensington must be a priority, and to make meaningful progress we must invest in the work that community organizations are already doing.
Maria Gonzales, President of HACE, noted longstanding community efforts: “Kensington and Fairhill suffer from high poverty rates and the after effects of decades of disinvestment, for which HACE along with Councilmember Quińones Sánchez and our partner organizations have been working to reverse through various community initiatives. There is a great need to increase resources that are focused on the significant economic, social and public health problems affecting long term residents of this community.”
Casey O’Donnell, executive director of Impact Services, said “We need to commit to the safety, health, and prosperity for Kensington and every Philadelphia neighborhood. We need to help people move off the streets and into intensive treatment that will allow them the chance to break away from the chemical dependence. Inaction is not an option, and the City cannot sacrifice a whole community to addiction.”
This years-long health crisis, and its effects on a diverse community of the working poor, must be addressed now. There was no one cause and there is no one solution, but complexity, and the considerable need for support from federal and state lawmakers, cannot be the reason for not taking action now.
As summer always brings increased difficulty and chaos in Kensington, neighbors and community members are demanding that we respond and it is our responsibility to listen and act.
Additional coverage of the Kensington Community’s demands:
- ‘What we need is leadership’: Kensington councilmembers say mayor is failing community, WHYY News, July 1, 2020
- Quiñones-Sánchez slams Kenney administration over handling of Kensington; mayor’s office responds, Star, July 2, 2020