Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.


Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

May 28, 2012

blight and poverty in southwest philly

When I take the trolley into center city Philadelphia from my comfortable middle-class abode, this is the neighborhood it passes through.  I shot this video from my seat on the trolley, which I take nearly every day.  Notice the boarded up houses and empty lots where abandoned homes were demolished.  Lots of people think that blight is caused by deliberate acts of vandalism or because the poor have an innate destructive nature.  In actuality, many neighborhoods go downhill because those who become financially able move on to more expensive parts of the city, leaving the poorest of the poor behind, who cannot afford to maintain their modest homes.  Roofs, doors and windows are left unrepaired when they break down from normal wear and tear.  Paint peels, cracks form on the cement steps leading to the entrances and the very foundations they stand on begin to decay until the structures take on a lopsided appearance.  

This is not something I interviewed the people of southwest about as a blogger.  I used to live in Southwest Philadelphia in one of the periods in my life when I was down and out.  (For many years, I drifted in and out of poverty).  My neighbors there would tell me often in casual conversation how much they wanted to fix up their houses but simply did not have the money for repairs.  Occasionally, some were able to scrape up enough money to hire neighborhood handymen, many of whom did not have the proper skills or licenses to do the work.  In some cases, shoddy workmanship would leave the houses in worse shape than before.

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