Since 1991, Reinvestment Fund has partnered with Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society, which rehabilitates blighted and abandoned buildings in East Camden. The presence of St. Joe’s houses raised the median sales price of surrounding homes by 42% at a time when neighborhoods in Camden were generally on the decline. All told, Reinvestment Fund has supported St. Joe’s rehabilitation and new construction of more than 500 homes.
Our latest loan supports 10 new construction homes on currently vacant lots that were once residential properties. All the homes will be built to accommodate modern families, with three to four bedrooms, parking, porches and yard space, but designed in keeping with the architecture of the neighborhood. Homes will also be built to Energy Star and NJ Green requirements.
East Camden has seen a significant resurgence over the last 25 years. Neighborhood residents are predominantly low-income, but have higher incomes than the city overall—according to census data, 39% of households in the neighborhood have incomes less than $25,000, compared to 57% in Camden overall. Abandonment is still a challenge for East Camden, but today only one in 40 homes are abandoned compared to one in every six homes in 1990. This neighborhood has become a more stable, diverse and inclusive community, one with employment centers that is an integral part of the city.
St. Joe’s continues to work to eliminate the vacancies that remain, presenting safety risks to residents and preventing the rebirth of some blocks. St. Joe’s homes sold in 1990 have appreciated significantly in value, 90% are still owned by their original buyers, and there has been low foreclosure among St. Joe’s homebuyers—a testament to the strength of its community development approach.