Promise Zone Blog

Modern-Day Redlining in Philadelphia and the Promise Zone


Photo Credit: Ian Freimuth/ via Creative Commons

By: Elizabeth Cohen

In February 2018, Reveal published a story on the large racial differences in home lending (also known as modern-day redlining) across the United States. Reveal did a national analysis of lending patterns using conventional mortgage records in 2015 and 2016.

Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made redlining illegal, Reveal’s analysis showed that there were differences by race in who were offered conventional loans. They found that Philadelphia has one of the largest racial gaps in home lending among large cities.  Read the full story here.

Redlining in Philadelphia

  • Black applicants in Philadelphia were almost three times more likely to be denied a conventional home purchase loan than white applicants.
  • White applicants were ten times more likely to receive conventional mortgages loans than black applicants.
  • Banks focused on serving the white parts of town, placing nearly three-quarters of their branches in white-majority neighborhoods.
  • Wells Fargo Bank denied 27 percent of conventional home purchase applications from black applicants and 9 percent from white applicants.
  • Santander Bank denied 37 percent of black applicants and 13 percent of white ones.
  • PNC Bank denied 44 percent of black applicants and 15 percent of white applicants.


The Promise Zone Research Connection Takes First Place!

The Promise Zone Research Connection Takes First Place!

On Friday April 27, 2018, Penn’s Community Scholars Program had its Spring Symposium that brought together leaders of academic and philanthropic communities to serve on the panel for the Scholar’s Pitch Competition. Dennis Boroughs (Baring Street Community) and Amanda Hallock (Promise Zone VISTA) represented the Promise Zone Research Connection (PZRC). After deliberation, the panel gave first place honors to the PZRC which includes a bit of funding to get the group started! Below we’ve written up the speech for those who couldn’t make it.


Promise Neighborhood Surveyor Interview

By: Amanda Hallock

Surveyors: Sherra Dunn, Jeffrey Jordan, Rita Nelson, Kevin D. Young, Hyden Terrell                            Project Manager: Kelly Traister

The Promise Neighborhood grant is well underway! The grant is $30 million over 5 years and the Department of Education requires Drexel University, the lead applicant, to have rigorous data collection and evaluation. One of the components of this is a biennial neighborhood survey.

To conduct the survey, Drexel has prioritized hiring Promise Zone residents (the Zone and Neighborhood share the same boundaries) and in doing so has seemed to have more success in survey collection. The Promise Zone resident surveyors know their neighborhood culture and have the important ability to gain trust more easily than a non-resident would. And don’t forget about their fantastic orange jackets! Besides being residents and dressed in orange, the surveyors are just all around fantastic. They have great energies and are passionate about the project. I discovered this and so much more when I sat down to talk with five of the surveyors in February. MORE

Philadelphia Promise Zone Awarded 2016 Promise Neighborhoods Grant

A five-year, $30 million grant will support local initiatives to:

  • Expand early literacy and early science efforts in local child care and pre-K programs;
  • Enhance K-12 instruction in these seven schools;
  • Empower parents to advocate for their children’s learning; and
  • Improve access to education and job training for young adults and all residents in the Promise Neighborhood.

More on Promise Neighborhoods

10th Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival

Lancaster Ave Jazz Fest 7-20-2013 128The 10th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival will be hosted by People’s Emergency Center (PEC) on Saturday, July 16th from noon to 7pm in Penn Presbyterian Saunders Park Greene, at 39th and Powelton Avenue. This year’s festival will showcase the female artists who have shaped jazz and are solidifying its future. Pianist and composer Sumi Tonooka will headline the event, which is free and open to the public. The free Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival will offer activities for the whole family: a mix of exemplary musicians, a diverse gathering of people, a view of the city and a chance to enjoy a neighborhood that is rich in arts and culture. The event has grown over its 10 years from having a few hundred attendees to more than 3,000. Read the People’s Emergency Center’s press release for more information.

Listening Session: Reed’s Coffee

Reed’s Coffee & Tea House opened four years ago at the corner of Lancaster and 38th. Trolleys roll by every ten minutes, but people come in on foot throughout the day. From what we’ve seen, customers come looking for anything, taste something delicious, and then look to try more. MORE

Small and Emerging Business Working Group

5454Over the last 6 months the Promise Zone Small & Emerging Business Working Group has piloted a lending and technical assistance (TA) program targeting business and property owners on Lancaster Avenue and 52nd Street. This has involved close collaboration with many partners, including Community Development Financial Institutions (which provides loans to small businesses), Commercial Corridor Managers, and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce.


Promise Zone AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA open positions!

AmeriCorps: Promise Corps College and Career Ambassadors

Promise Corps College and Career Ambassadors (CCAs) will be placed in one of four high schools in Philadelphia’s Promise Zone. The high schools are West Philadelphia, Overbrook, High School of the Future, and Parkway West.CCAs will work with high school students and families to ensure that they graduate from high school with strong skill sets, and develop awareness of paths and challenges related to postsecondary opportunities, while working with students to help them develop long-term plans leading to postsecondary entry. CCAs will work with school teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors to identify and recruit students who need additional support. MORE

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