The Chester Community Improvement Project (CCIP) was founded in 1978 by a group of local community residents and ministers on the west side of Chester along with a Lang Scholar from Swarthmore College to combat a dumpsite in the city of Chester. In 1983, CCIP’s Board of Directors decided to focus on the growing number of abandoned properties in selected neighborhoods and began renovating vacant homes for sale and/or lease-purchase to low- and moderate-income families. CCIP has grown from a humble grassroots organization to a non-profit (501) (c) (3) community housing development organization whose goals include targeted housing rehabilitation and new construction, supported by comprehensive pre- and post-purchase housing counseling and community education. We also focus on addressing workforce development and economic problems.
To target the issues of vacancy and abandonment widely recognized as major sources of neighborhood deterioration, CCIP initially focused on the west side of Chester. We rehabilitated older homes and built new townhouses. Beginning in 2000, the subsidies required for rehab relative to sale prices for west side homes became untenable. CCIP shifted its focus to the east side of the city, specifically the area between Widener University and Crozer-Chester Medical Center. We began to acquire and rehabilitate homes for ownership and in 2005 worked with residents and institutional stakeholders to develop a comprehensive approach to the revitalization of the East Gateway Triangle.
CCIP has built a very strong reputation in quality housing development and grassroots community organization. In 37 years of operation, CCIP has increased the number of safe, decent, and affordable homes in the city of Chester, educated families, and assisted low- and moderate-income first-time home buyers to successfully purchase a home in the city of Chester and Delaware County, as well as provided hands-on construction job training to disadvantaged youths in partnership with Chester YouthBuild.
In 2005, CCIP embarked on a new venture with a group of residents who are striving to control the destiny of the place they call home: the East Gateway Triangle Neighborhood Initiative. The East Gateway neighborhood is the triangle bounded by East 24th Street to the north, Providence Avenue to the east, East 13th Street to the south, and Edgmont Avenue to the west. The EGT neighborhood is strategically located between two major institutions making significant investments in Chester: Widener University and Crozer-Keystone Medical Center. The EGT is a tight knit community of 2,600 residents. Its traditional homes, which are mixed-use residential, and retail, as well as the proximity to medical and educational institutions make it an ideal community of choice for the city’s revitalization efforts.