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Sankofa Freedom Academy Scores Grant

As part of its efforts to keep the arts alive in Philadelphia schools, the Picasso Project, an arts advocacy program of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), presented $50,083 in grants to 13 Philadelphia public schools on January 17th at the World Café Live.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth presented a $2,500 check presented to the students and staff Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School for their arts project “Sankofa Rewind: A Cinematic Journey from Self discovery to Social Action.” They are joined by (back row, from left) John Duffy of the office of State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-2), Jojy Varghese (3rd from left) and (far right) Zach Epps of the office of State Representative Tony Payton, Jr. (D-179); and (next to Epps) Picasso Project Coordinator Gretchen Elise Walker. (Photo by Ellie Seif)

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Town Hall Meeting on Recovery Homes in Frankford

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez hosted a town hall style meeting on the topic of recovery houses in Frankford at Sankofa Freedom Academy last Tuesday night.  This was the followup to the meeting held in February of 2009 at St. Joachim.

There was a very good crowd on hand with representatives from both Frankford and Northwood Civic Associations, the Frankford CDC and a large number of residents of Frankford.

Councilwoman Sanchez lead the meeting.  Jorge Santana attended for Representative Tony Payton.  Roland Lamb, the director of Addiction Services, was there.  Doctor Arthur Evans represented the Department of Behavioral Health.  Thomas McDade represented L&I.  Fred Way was there for PMHCC.

All of the experts on the panel made their pitch explaining their function in addressing the problem.  There is no comprehensive legislative approach to solving this problem because, as was pointed out, this problem is really multiple problems manifesting as one.

You have drug treatment providers, good recovery homes,  bad recovery homes, boarding houses and some people that are just plain nuisances.  We have people of good will, ill will and no will.

So where does that leave us?  We as a community have to keep up the pressure.  It doesn’t matter too much to us what the source of the problem is.  The solutions are where we are headed.

  • There are some things that can be done legislatively to limit providers and regulate recovery so that certain standards are maintained.  We have to stand together as a community and demand that those changes be made.
  • We have to stand together with the best of the recovery homes and demand that any others either be brought into compliance or shut down period.
  • We have to demand strict regulation of the drug treatment providers and demand that no others be allowed to set up shop in Frankford.
  • We want to demand that the the Zoning Code Commission add recovery houses and rehabilitation centers to the Zoning Code’s list of Regulated Uses (§
    14-1605); or, at the very least, to the prohibited uses list found in the Frankford Special Services District
    Controls Overlay (§ 14-1623).

Now here is the hard part.  We cannot change the economic forces that made Frankford ripe for exploitation but we can decide to work together to fight them.  Time is on our side.  In ten years, give or take a few, our problem will be how to preserve the neighborhood from becoming another Northern Liberties.  Right now are are waging a holding action until the tide changes in that direction.

Now a word of praise for a guy who does his best to just tell a story.  Toward the end of the meeting questions were taken from the audience.  That is always interesting in Frankford but in this case there were a lot of good questions from very sincere people.  At the end, john Loftus of the Northeast Times stood and said something that kind of hit the mark.  Paraphrasing it, he said there is nobody in this audience who doubts the need for recovery services.  That is not the issue.  The question is why are they all here.  Why should they all be here. Why are they all here, far in excess in proportion to the population.  That is what the community wants to know and there has not yet been a satisfactory answer to that question.

The process is ongoing.  Thanks to Councilwoman Sanchez for having this meeting and pledging to meet with the Frankford Recovery Coalition.  The more parties at the table, the more likely we are to make some progress.  A followup meeting may be scheduled for as early as September.

Read the full story from Northeast Times here.

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Coming Up in Frankford

  • Frankford/Northwood Spring Resource Fair
    When – Sat, June 19, 10am – 1pm
    Where – 4600 block of Paul Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description – Come join us for a day of fun, free food, activities and prizes. Sponsored by the Northeast Epic Stakeholders Group, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez and State Representative Tony Payton.
  • Town Hall Meeting
    When – Tue, June 22, 6pm – 8pm
    Where – Sankofa Freedom Academy, 4256 Paul St., Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description – Town Hall Meeting on drug rehabilitation facilities and housing for recovering addicts. Drug rehabilitation and recovery have been of particular concern to Frankford residents, who have complained to city officials, including councilwoman Sanchez, about the large number of these facilities in Frankford.
    When – Thu, June 24, 12pm – 2pm
    Where – Agape Restaurant, 4524-26 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description – The Frankford Business and Professional Association is hosting a Business Card Exchange for all local businesses, and organizations. Opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and promote your business. Please join us for the Annual Business Card Exchange. This is a great opportunity to come meet other local merchants, share ideas, network, and promote your business. You can also learn about the other programs FBPA is working on such as commercial corridor block captions, UnLitter Us in Frankford, Frankford Avenue promotions and much more. Lunch will be served, please RSVP so we know how many to expect.
  • Northeast Philadelphia EPIC Stakeholders Group
    When – Thu, June 24, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
    Where – Edmunds School, 1197 Haworth St. Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description – The ultimate goal is to create a process that enhances the community’s ability to solve issues surrounding truancy, domestic violence, child safety and substance abuse.
  • Mayor Nutter Walks Frankford Avenie
    When – Sat, June 26, 9am – 12pm
    Where – Frankford Avenue Business District (map)
    Description – Details to be announced
  • Frankford Civic Association Meeting
    When – Thu, July 8, 7pm – 8pm
    Where2nd floor conference room, Aria Health, 4900 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)