'Jumpstart Germantown' Aims for the Antidote to Gentrification

A new program based in the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia aims to encourage community ownership of urban re-investment.
April 10, 2018, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jill Harkins reports on Jumpstart Germantown, a Philadelphia-based organization that provides training, mentoring, and financial backing to local residents in an "effort to remove blight from and revitalize the Germantown neighborhood without the traditional outcomes of gentrification: the pushing out of long-time residents as a result of skyrocketing housing costs."

"Jumpstart Germantown has graduated 235 people—60 more will graduate in April—and has more than 300 people on its wait list," according to Harkins. In addition to training, the program includes a mentorship program and financial support. Here's how the financial program works:

Participants also have the option of applying for a loan through Jumpstart. Borrowers must put up 15 percent of the project cost, and Jumpstart lends the remaining 85 percent. While the interest rate on the loans is higher than a loan from a traditional bank, no credit check is required for a buy and sell project and loans are approved quickly to allow borrowers to compete with wealthier developers with cash on hand. Jumpstart has closed on 70 loans in the past two and a half years, each ranging from $40,000 to $500,000 and totaling more than $7,000,000. The income generated from the loan half of the program has paid for the training costs, and Weinstein says it has become an essentially break-even operation.

The article provides a lot more details about the goals and methods of the program, as well as insight into some of the program's successes.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, April 2, 2018 in The Philadelphia Citizen
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