Joe Waldo presented the work of the Urban Resources Development Corporation. This group was founded in 1995, and is now sponsored by 12 religious congregations devoted to community stabilization in Northwest Philadelphia.
Initially, the group was involved in housing rehabilitation. It purchased and renovated over 30 homes, with a focus on “the first abandoned house” in a block. Prevention of that first deterioration is a way of preventing the deterioration of the rest of the block. Home prices in Germantown have begun to rise, and now the organization spends only about 10% of its resources on this program.
The major focus of the organization is now assisting low income, elderly homeowners with home repair. The group identifies and manages contractors and helps provide low interest loans through Univest bank. Currently, about one house every 10 days gets this work done on the outside of the house, and there are now 52 families on a waiting list.
Rotary could get involved in this by sending individual volunteers, contributing to a specific project, or in many other inventive ways. The URDC receives no governmental funds; all financing is done through foundations and individual contributions.