A zoning permit has been filed for the construction of an attached structure (one that abuts the lot walls of its neighbors) at 3907 Haverford Avenue in the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia near University City. People’s Emergency Center, a local non-profit organization, is listed as the owner.
People’s Emergency Center is a community organization that supports at-risk groups such as families in need, particularly parents, youth and children who are experiencing homelessness. The group has already provided 200 housing units for persons within this group, raising the possibility that the property at 3907 Haverford Avenue may house such residences. However, PEC also provides social services, counseling, case management, technology education, and other services crucial to vulnerable groups, suggesting that 3907 Haverford Avenue may offer community services instead. The permit type is listed as “commercial,” adding further ambiguity.
Whatever the new building’s eventual use may be, it will comprise a part of the group’s positive contribution to the community. In addition to the services mentioned above, PEC also beautifies open spaces, creates artist spaces and galleries, revitalizes commercial corridors and abandoned storefronts and buildings – in other words, provides an array of functions that both stimulate local economic growth and help local residents thrive, both principles strongly consistent with the YIMBY movement.
The new building at 3907 Haverford Avenue would replace an empty lot on the north side of the avenue. Although unused, the lot is far from an eyesore, with well-maintained and clean grass lawn. The new building would further improve the area, closing the only remaining streetwall gap on the block. A diverse ensemble of buildings of various styles and dating to different historic periods line the block, increasing the likelihood that the new structure would fit in regardless of its design.