Month: February 2015

Governor Wolf Announces Initiative to Improve Home- and Community-Based Care Services for Seniors in Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a package of legislative and budgetary actions to provide choice and protections for seniors as they age. Governor Wolf, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the PA Department of Aging (PDA) are committed to increasing opportunities for seniors to receive care in a home or community-based setting.rnrn”My actions today are just the first step in rebalancing our long term care system and increasing opportunities for home care workers,” said Governor Wolf. “This package is designed to provide choices for seniors, efficiencies in home- and community-based care delivery, and protections so that seniors receive the high quality level of care that they seek in their homes.”rnrnThis initiative is comprised of the following combination of budget, legislative and executive actions: rnrnExpand Services for Older Pennsylvanians and Reduce Long Term Care Costs. The upcoming 2015-2016 budget expands home- and community-based long term care programming by allowing more than 5,500 additional individuals to obtain care in their home this year. With this expansion, more than 50 percent of residents receiving long term care will do so in a home or community setting. For every month a resident receives care in the community as opposed to a nursing facility, the Commonwealth is able to save $2,457 per month. In expanding home- and community-based services to more than 5,500 residents, the Commonwealth is offsetting more than $162.2 million in nursing care costs.rnrnPhase in Medicaid Managed Long Term Care. DHS in partnership with PDA will pursue the implementation of managed long term care through engaging stakeholders to ensure that the system is person-centered, breaks down barriers, and fills in the gaps that currently exist in the long term care services and supports system. This initiative, which was recommended by the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission, will result in a more strategic care delivery system and improved health outcomes for seniors.rnrnImprove Long Term Living Waiver Enrollment and Service Plan Development Process. The current process of enrollment into the Commonwealth’s Medicaid-sponsored home- and community-based care services is a paper process and has numerous areas of duplication and inefficiencies that delay services being provided to these consumers. DHS and PDA are currently developing a work plan to automate and streamline this process so that services are delivered in timely manner and unnecessary nursing home stays are prevented.rnrnHome Modifications through Selective Contracting. A major barrier to individuals remaining in their homes is accessibility. Under the DHS home- and community-based services waivers, enrolled consumers are eligible for modifications to their homes to prevent admissions to nursing homes, and allow individuals to age in place. Unfortunately, current program barriers occasionally make it difficult for modifications to be made in a timely manner, forcing consumers into nursing care while waiting for the modifications to be made. DHS is proposing to establish a coordinated program to manage the home modifications across all of the home- and community-based waivers, through a comprehensive selective contracting model that will establish a team of specialists to allow for more timely services, improved quality and greater accountability for waiver consumers.rnrnImplement Online Homecare Registry. According to PHI PolicyWorks (PHI), Pennsylvania’s direct care workforce in 2013 consisted of 194,670 workers. Between 2012 and 2022, the direct care workforce is projected to grow by 33 percent. PDA is currently working to develop an online tool to make it easier for workers to find stable employment opportunities and for consumers to find competent care.rnrnEnsure Seniors have Choices about Where to Age. Ensuring that the home care sector is able to attract qualified and competent caregivers so that seniors have the option to age at home or community-based setting is a top priority of the Wolf Administration. Governor Wolf is signing Executive Order 2015-05 to form the Governor’s Advisory Group on Participant-Directed Home Care and direct the Secretary of the Department of Human Services to regularly meet and discuss issues of mutual concern with a representative for Direct Care Workers. These actions will ensure that home care workers have a voice in shaping the future of their industry in Pennsylvania and seniors have choices about where to receive care.rnrn”This package will also provide home care workers with the opportunity to meet and contribute to discussions about improving wages and employment conditions,” added Governor Wolf. “As the workers on the front lines of delivering care to seniors and our most vulnerable, they should have a voice in the future of their industry in Pennsylvania.”rnrnOver the next few months, DHS Secretary Ted Dallas and PDA Secretary Teresa Osborne will work with key stakeholders to develop an action plan that addresses the current income and health barriers that prevent seniors from being able to age in place.rnrnMEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116rnrn rnrnSOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the GovernorrnrnrnrnRELATED LINKSrnhttp://www.governor.state.pa.us

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Debuts New Hotel At Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing

Waterfront Hotel Provides Instant Access to Dining, Entertainment and Shopping in the Heart of the Nation’s BirthplacernnnrnrnnnrnFebruary 26, 2015rnPHILADELPHIA and MCLEAN, Va. – Hilton Hotels & Resorts today announced the opening of Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, a 348-room hotel located in downtown Philadelphia. rn”Hilton continues to grow in the City of Brotherly Love and is proud to welcome Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing to our growing portfolio of more than 550 hotels worldwide,” said Rob Palleschi, global head, full service brands, Hilton Worldwide. “With breathtaking views, modern amenities and large meeting and event spaces, this property provides the style, comfort and convenience that today’s traveler desires.”rnAs one of the only hotels located on the Delaware River waterfront, Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing provides guests with magnificent views of the Philadelphia skyline. The property is just steps away from an array of dining and entertainment options as well as shopping and sightseeing at historical locales such as the Liberty Bell Center, the Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall. In addition, the hotel is conveniently located 15 minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport.rnAlong with stunning city and waterfront view guest rooms, Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing has 11 suites, a 24-hour business center and 24,000 square feet of meeting space located across two floors. Serving as an excellent setting for weddings and other social events, the Grand Ballroom features 17-foot floor-to-ceiling windows and overlooks the Delaware River, while the Columbus Ballroom overlooks Columbus Park and Marina. Open 24 hours daily, the hotel also has a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests can enjoy the indoor pool’s panoramic views of the river and skyline while they workout. For guests interested in an outdoor workout or to tour the city’s sights, bike rentals are also available.rnThe hotel provides an array of dining options including Keating’s River Bar & Grill, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant features signature specialties such as rosemary seared sea scallops or peppercorn crusted filet mignon, as well as classic American fare, such as Philly cheese steaks, burgers and more. Guests can unwind at Keating’s River Bar & Grill with an extensive beer, wine and spirits menu, 12 TV screens and delicious food menu served daily. For early risers, Perks Café offers coffee and snacks every morning including pastries, muffins, bagels and freshly-brewed premium Starbucks coffee. The café also offers complimentary newspapers and internet access as well.rn”The team has been eagerly anticipating the opening of Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing,” said Jim Dina, chief operating officer, Pyramid Hotel Group. “Our dedicated associates look forward to making visitors to Philadelphia feel at home by greeting them with the world-renowned hospitality that is synonymous with Hilton Hotels & Resorts.”rn”As the owner/developer of this stellar property, I couldn’t be more proud to partner with Hilton Hotels and Resorts as well as The Pyramid Hotel Group,” commented Daniel J. Keating lll, principal of Keating, Philadelphia, PA. “I’m thrilled to be in the company of these well-respected and highly-acclaimed global organizations. It’s an exciting time to be in the hospitality industry here in the City of Brotherly Love. With much-anticipated, large-scale, benchmark events taking place here throughout 2016, such as the upcoming Papal Visit and Democratic National Convention, all eyes will be on our great city and our fine hotels.”rnHilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing will participate in Hilton HHonors, the only guest rewards program that allows members to earn Points & Miles for the same stay and redeem points for free nights with No Blackout Dates at more than 4,300 hotels worldwide. To mark the opening, the hotel is offering 1,000 bonus HHonors points per night for stays Sunday-Thursday from February 26, 2015 to August 26, 2015.rnFor more information or to make reservations, guests can visit the hotel’s website or call +1-215-521-6500. Media can access additional information about Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing at news.hilton.com/PhiladelphiaPennsLanding.rnThe hotel is operated by Pyramid Hotel Group, under a franchise license agreement with a subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide.rnAbout KeatingrnKeating is a Philadelphia based company which offers a full range of development services from conceptual planning and entitlement through asset and property management.rnAbout Pyramid Hotel GrouprnPyramid Hotel Group is a Boston based company which manages and asset manages over 70 hotels and resorts across the United States. In addition to management and asset management, Pyramid provides services that include project management, property management and advisory services for owners and lenders.

CULTUREBLOCKS RECOGNIZED AS 2015 BRIGHT IDEA BY HARVARD ASH CENTER

Philadelphia, February 20, 2015 – The City of Philadelphia’s CultureBlocks project has been recognized as a 2015 Bright Idea by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. CultureBlocks, managed by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, is a free online mapping tool that aggregates cultural assets and demographic information that is used to visualize the relationship between cultural activity in Philadelphia neighborhoods and the economic and social wellbeing of those neighborhoods.rnrn rnrn“The City of Philadelphia has so many diverse cultural assets, it can be a challenge to know the depth and breadth of the artistic opportunities we have to offer. CultureBlocks is a tremendous resource for all Philadelphians to keep track of the wealth of arts and culture experiences available. Having this information in one place, easily accessible, allows us to make better, more informed decisions around research, planning and investment in our city’s creative economy,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “We are honored that the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation has recognized the value of the CultureBlocks program. I want to thank all of the partners who made this project happen; it is a great example of what we can accomplish when public and private sectors work together to improve our city.”rnrn rnrnCultureBlocks, launched in 2013, is a public-private partnership between the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; the Department of Commerce; The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) Policy Map; and the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SAIP) at the University of Pennsylvania. The project is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace.rnrn rnrnIndividuals, organizations and funders can use CultureBlocks to identify cultural and socio-economic disparities across the City of Philadelphia in a highly visual, relationship-driven manner in order to make strategic investment decisions. The data collected for CultureBlocks was also used to generate a supplemental research report, Cultural Ecology, Neighborhood Vitality, and Social Wellbeing – A Philadelphia Project, which served as a companion to the datasets in the tool and additional data provided by the City.rnrn rnrnThis is the fourth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.rnrn rnrn“The Bright Ideas program demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, making government work better doesn’t always require massive reforms and huge budgets. Indeed, we are seeing that, in many ways, an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability can have further-reaching effects than large-scale reforms.”rnrn rnrn###rnrn rnrnTo view the CultureBlocks, visit: http://www.cultureblocks.com/.rnrn rnrnFor more information on the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.

MAYOR NUTTER DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS ON YOUTH SAFETY IN PHILADELPHIA AND THE YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION COLLABORATIVE

Posted on February 20, 2015 by City of PhiladelphiarnPhiladelphia, February 19, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter delivered a major keynote address on his Administration’s efforts to reduce youth violence across the City of Philadelphia after a meeting with philanthropic funders and partner agencies at Temple University. His prepared remarks are as follows, please check against delivery:rnrn“I just finished a meeting with local funders and partners investing in youth violence prevention in our region. I got to hear from them first-hand about their work and coordinated efforts they are engaged in to address this serious and pressing challenge in Philadelphia and across the Nation.rnrnI want to say thank you for your commitment to making Philadelphia a safer city for every resident and your work to steer young people away from violence and crime and toward positive and productive opportunities.rnrnOver the last few years, I have had countless opportunities to tout the change taking hold in Philadelphia, the sense of hope and optimism for our City, the positive trend line Philadelphia is now on.rnrnOur population is growing. Businesses are relocating here and development is occurring at an unparalleled level. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008 and the number of people working in Philadelphia has not been this high since 2001. Our educational attainment rates are up for both high school and college students. Homicide and violent crime rates are down considerably – the murder rate is at its lowest point since 1967 and violent crime is at a 30-year low.rnrnBut while the trends are clearly positive, there are some deeply rooted challenges that still threaten the bright future for our city – poverty, lack of educational opportunity and attainment, unemployment and violence. These challenges are interconnected and they affect every person in our City.rnrnPhiladelphia’s most violent, crime-ridden neighborhoods are also most often the places with the highest unemployment rates, highest levels of people living below the poverty line (mainly children and seniors), and lowest high school graduation rates.rnrnAll three issues are inextricably linked. Quality educational opportunities lead to more students who go on to higher education, who are less likely to be involved in a violent crime, and who are more likely to gain the skills needed to find employment.rnrnYoung people without that high-quality education face a harsh reality and are often not equipped with the interpersonal skills or options to navigate past these difficult circumstances.rnrnNotwithstanding all the positive trends I mentioned earlier, if Philadelphia does not address youth violence with collective efforts, our progress cannot and will not be sustained.rnrnToday, I want to share with you the long-term approach my Administration has taken to address all of these challenges simultaneously and comprehensively. We call it the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative – a group of government, philanthropic and private-sector partner organizations committed to ending youth violence in Philadelphia through a strategy which will develop and grow for many years to come.rnrnWith our partners in the Collaborative, we have begun to build something: a safety net of security for our city, which began with a new way of looking at these interrelated problems and a new way of working together to connect the solutions. Our net is still a work-in-progress as we weave together an array of services across Philadelphia.rnrnLast year, 248 Philadelphians were murdered on our streets. 40% of homicide victims are young people 24 years old or less. So on average, about 100 of those 248 murder victims were young people.rnrnFurther, about 75% of the homicide victims and 80% of the known perpetrators we arrest fir of violent crime in the City of Philadelphia are young, African-American men.rnrnIn the United States today, on average, one in three – that’s one in three – African-American men will have contact with the criminal justice system at some point during their lives.rnrnBut these numbers don’t and can’t tell the whole story. These victims and perpetrators are more than numbers on a tally sheet. They are fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, nephews – our fellow citizens’ loved ones and friends.rnrnOn August 20, 2014, a 16-year old was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest fired by a 17- year old in the Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia. On New Year’s Day, an 18-year old was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head fired by a 16-year old in the Olney section of North Philadelphia. And on January 16, 2015, a 14-year old was killed when he was stabbed in the chest by a 16-year old at the intersection of 46th & Market Streets in West Philadelphia.rnrnDifferent neighborhoods, different weapons, different motives. But they all have a few things in common: they were all young, they were all boys, and they were all black.rnrnAnd even though these young men all share similar characteristics, black-on-black violence is not an isolated problem and it doesn’t just affect the black community. It affects every member of every community in our city and beyond.rnrnViolence and death rip out the heart and soul of a community, it tears apart our civil society and lessens the ties that bind us as human beings. There are other impacts as well.rnrnIt raises our costs to ensure public safety and reduces our budget to provide other services like recreation centers and libraries. It impacts the entire city as a public health crisis: over time wiping out thousands of young men, imprisoning others and the trauma inflicted and inflicting trauma on thousands more.rnrnThe collateral damage is outrageous: a 3-year-old girl shot in the crossfire while she was sitting on her front steps getting her hair braided; an elderly man gunned down in his home as he was getting dressed when a bullet pierced his bedroom wall.rnrnThe trauma is internalized by the victims, their families, the perpetrators’ families, their neighbors and even the people passing by on the street who see the crime scene tape blowing in the wind, the chalk outlines and the shell casings in the street. The trauma and fear spread through a community like a virus.rnrnI want to share with you the story of another young man who was arrested and charged with murder this past December, who likely witnessed violent and traumatic events at an early age.rnrnOn September 8, 2014, 17-year-old Naaire Murray was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest in his home at 24th & Huntingdon Streets, just south of Lehigh Avenue. The apparent motive was an argument. Arrested for the crime was 18-year-old Jason Cassius Broaster, who had fled to Georgia. If his last name seems familiar to you, it probably should.rnrnJason’s father, Cassius Broaster, and his uncle, Jerome “Mo” Broaster, were alleged to have instigated a gun-fight the morning of February 11, 2004 outside Pierce Elementary School, a gun battle that resulted in the death of 10 year old Faheem Thomas Childs. Two other men, Kareem Johnson and Kennel Spady, were convicted of killing Childs in 2006.rnrnAccording to sources, Cassius Broaster’s girlfriend told police that his car had been sprayed with bullets after he dropped off their son at school. Jason Broaster would have been 8 at the time.rnrnThen-Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson had called the Broaster brothers “the worst people in the city as far as violence is concerned”. In 2012, the Federal government caught up with them, along with brothers Elliott and Larkeem, and indicted all of them on drug charges.rnrnNow, there is no way of knowing all of the details of that day or if the son Cassius Broaster was dropping off at Pierce Elementary that morning was Jason, but it is very likely it was Jason and that speaks to the violent environment in which young Jason Broaster grew up in and now is a perpetrator of violence himself – he is now involved in a cycle of senseless, intergenerational, almost-unending geographic pattern of violence.rnrnThe 2004 shooting at Pierce and the shooting 10 years later that killed Naaire Murray happened within 4 blocks in the same neighborhood of North Philadelphia in the 22nd Police District.rnrnHow do we confront violence that is so deeply engrained in generations of families, behavior that is decades in the making?rnrnCrime and violence aren’t created in a vacuum. I don’t believe people are born bad – something happens along the way. There are a series of moments in their lives that set them on a path toward making good or bad choices.rnrnAnd therein lies the hope: if there are moments in a child’s life when they have choices to make, then there are opportunities for us to provide them with the knowledge, tools, support and guidance in advance so that they are empowered to make the right choices.rnrnWe need to help children navigate the dangerous ‘forks in the road’. We need to start paying attention to every, single child. We need to envision a city where every child has their own, what I’m calling, ISP: an Individualized Success Plan.rnrnWe need to help young people at critical points in their lives through a web of overlapping institutions and services that creates one, comprehensive safety net of security, which will catch and protect children who are growing up in dangerous environments.rnrnI believe we are up to the task. If any city in America can lead the way on this issue, it is Philadelphia. We are a City of firsts and we can be the first to tackle, in a meaningful, measurable, comprehensive, impactful way, one of the great societal crises of our time.rnrnMy Administration has been working on this issue for the last seven years, and we will continue to work on it until literally my last day in office.rnrnWhen I became Mayor I asked Charles Ramsey to serve as Police Commissioner and brought on a former public defender, Everett Gillison, as the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. We built a public safety team, including a strengthened Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB), that supports a place and community-based strategy to effectively address youth violence.rnrnI must say, however, that our approach was received skeptically at first. Philadelphia had been through decades of previous attempts to quell the violence, and citizens wanted to know what would be different this time.rnrnThe difference was our emphasis on community, on building more trust between police and citizens, and a thoughtful, long-term approach.rnrnWe knew that just adding more police would do little if the neighbors didn’t trust them. Policing is not the key to community safety, a strong community is. We modeled our approach after a time in this city when a sense of community bound neighbors and neighborhoods together – when there was a sense of shared destiny and responsibility. I lived that experience growing up in West Philadelphia. Many people I speak to had that experience – it is not unique.rnrnSo our Administration took a “listen-first” approach to what different communities across our city needed in order to feel safe in their homes and on the street, and unsurprisingly, every neighborhood’s needs, concerns and ideas were different.rnrnThis led to an initiative called PhillyRising, launched in 2010 with funding from the Department of Justice, which targets neighborhoods that are plagued by chronic crime and quality-of-life concerns, and establishes partnerships with community members to address their concerns and their ideas, not ours.rnrnPhillyRising is based on a common sense and flexible use of the ‘broken windows’ theory of policing, and works with the community instead of just sending police into neighborhoods like an occupying force.rnrnFor example: near McPherson Square in Kensington, neighbors complained about a dead, hollow tree which was being used as a stash place by drug dealers. In addition to increased police patrols to apprehend the dealers, PhillyRising coordinated City services to remove the tree and clean up the square to make it less conducive to criminal activity. This initiative is currently operating in 19 neighborhoods, with plans to expand to 25 communities across the city.rnrnAs PhillyRising established itself in our city, we sought to increase the effectiveness of our efforts by working with partner agencies to bring additional resources to our neighborhoods.rnrnWe secured grants – state, federal, private, philanthropic – and joined initiatives that support our underlying goal: to interrupt and disrupt the cycle of poverty and crime that leads to youth violence in targeted areas of our city.rnrnIn 2012, the City of Philadelphia received two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice. We joined the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which allowed us to establish our own Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative, and we received a demonstration grant for our place-based, youth violence prevention strategy in the city’s 22nd Police District.rnrnAlso in 2012, in response to the overwhelming effect of violence on the black community, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and I established Cities United, a national partnership to eliminate violence related injuries and deaths of African-American men and boys. Today, 62 Mayors across the country are engaged in this partnership.rnrnIn 2013, the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia was designated by President Obama as one of the nation’s first federal Promise Zones, an initiative designed to address the challenges associated with deep and persistent poverty in specific areas.rnrnAlso in 2013, the City received a federal Choice Neighborhoods Grant from HUD to develop a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan for North Central Philadelphia aimed at three core goals: affordable housing, opportunities for individuals and families, and stabilizing neighborhoods. These three goals mirrored issues already identified in Philadelphia as key challenges in our violence prevention strategy.rnrnIn 2014, President Obama launched, and Philadelphia joined, the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative which parallels Cities United: to improve opportunities for men and boys of color. With MBK, the very highest levels of our government have publicly recognized the impact of losing so many African-American, Latino and other men and boys of color is having on our nation, and the work is progressing.rnrnLast November, Philadelphia hosted a local action summit for My Brother’s Keeper and this coming April we will host a national convening for Cities United.rnrnOur Administration pursued each one of these initiatives or grants because they supported and reinforced our new, comprehensive strategy being developed by the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative. All of this work is interrelated; all of this work is on purpose. There is a strategy.rnrnCreated in partnership with the Stoneleigh Foundation and more than 100 local organizations, the mission of the Collaborative is to prevent youth violence in Philadelphia by creating a safe environment that supports the development of healthy, productive citizens through a long-term, city-wide, multi-disciplinary approach – focusing on youth ages 14-24.rnrnAnd since everything needs to begin somewhere, we chose to focus the work of our new Collaborative in the section of the city where it is needed the most: the 22nd Police District in North Philadelphia, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, Sharswood, North Central, and parts of Allegheny West.rnrnThe 22nd District is an area that has been plagued by violence and related issues for more than 40 years. Its’ neighborhoods have some of the highest shooting and homicide rates, highest poverty and unemployment rates, and lowest graduation rates in the city. We decided to take on the toughest challenge out there.rnrnIn 2014, 117 people were shot in the 22nd District and more than half of those victims, 62, were youth. Tragically, 29 people were victims of homicide in the District, and 8 of them were 24 years old or younger. This district has the highest incidence of shooting victims in the city.rnrn42% of the residents in the 22nd District live at or below the federal poverty line – the highest rate of concentrated poverty in the city – and 38% of the youth (16-24 year olds) in the district are unemployed.rnrnStrawberry Mansion High School is the only public high school in the 22nd District. For the 2013-2014 school year, Strawberry Mansion’s on-time graduation rate was 36% – the lowest in the city.rnrnThe 22nd also has the greatest number of families living in Philadelphia Housing Authority residences of any police district and accounts for 35% of all homicides in PHA housing city-wide.rnrnBut, the 22nd District also has a long and rich history of community engagement and an excellent institution in Temple University, so we worked with these strong partners to earn the confidence and respect of residents and create lasting, positive change.rnrnThe holistic approach we’ve been testing in the 22nd is what we think it’s going to take to truly curtail youth violence now and in the years to come. It has meant addressing the contributing factors: education, lack of opportunity and unemployment. But it has also meant treating the entire community for the damage done by violence through trauma-informed care.rnrnLet me give you a few examples of the work we’re doing in these areas with our partner organizations and the encouraging results we’re already seeing.rnrnEducation and After-SchoolrnrnAs I discussed earlier, the best way to put a child on the path to success is to begin early with a solid educational foundation, but many of our city’s schools are not providing that for all of our students.rnrnPart of the problem is that our schools are drastically underfunded. Our Administration and City Council have invested in education, more than $360 million in new annual funding over the last five years, and we will continue to make education a priority working with our new Governor Tom Wolf and our Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg.rnrnBut that’s only part of the problem. Students face daily challenges like safely getting to and from school, a deficit of academic options and guidance while they are at school, and a lack of quality after-school programming between 3 and 6pm when they are most likely to get into trouble.rnrnIn the 22nd District, the Collaborative has launched programs specifically designed to address the needs of students in these schools.rnrnWorking with the United States Attorney’s Office, the Collaborative established a football program for the first time in 40 years at Strawberry Mansion High School – ensuring the players had uniforms, physical evaluations from a physician (a Collaborative partner), and even a tailgate party featuring a community resource fair for the team’s first homecoming game.rnrnThe City received a $200,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Justice to expand programs called “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” (PBIS) in four schools in the 22nd District. PBIS provides curriculum for teachers to talk about violence and conflict resolution with students in conjunction with academics.rnrnThe Genuardi Family Foundation recently invested $25,000 in the East Park Revitalization Alliance to support its work: providing after school and summer programming at the City’s Mander Recreational Center, teaching gardening and horticulture at the Green Resource Center, and instruction at the Culinary School in Strawberry Mansion High School.rnrnThe donation from the Genuardi Family Foundation will help immensely the East Park Revitalization Alliance, a small grassroots organization, with its immediate administrative costs and provide the opportunity to secure more public and private funding.rnrnThese investments are relatively small, targeted efforts that can and will make a tremendous difference. I strongly believe that education is the safety net through which we can increase opportunities for children to make the right choices; education is the greatest economic investment we can make.rnrnJobs and OpportunityrnrnThe Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative focuses on youth ages 14-24 years old, and we recognize that there is a great difference between a teenager in search of a summer or part-time job, and a young adult, perhaps coming out of the corrections system with little or no work experience and limited education.rnrnAs such, the Collaborative has prioritized helping those young adults get into, and stay in, the labor force. As I mentioned earlier, the unemployment rate for youth in the 22nd is nearly 40%.rnrnThrough the Collaborative and other City agencies, we have launched numerous programs to address the gap between a young person’s current skills and the prerequisites necessary for entry into the workforce.rnrnIn 2014, the City invested more $7 million dollars to create summer job experiences for youth across Philadelphia – the largest amount the City has ever invested in recent history. After our meeting with local funders this time last year, the Collaborative raised an additional $86,000 in private funding for summer jobs from the Patricia Kind Family Foundation and the Samuel S. Fels Fund (on top of what funders like Lincoln Financial Foundation were already investing). Those additional funds went directly toward placing 904 youth from the neighborhoods in 22nd District in summer jobs.rnrnAlso last year, the City was awarded a $750,000 Second Chance Act grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, which the City will match, to provide a range of supportive services including housing and employment for citizens returning from the Philadelphia Prison System to areas in and around the 22nd Police District.rnrnAdditionally, The City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and the Greenlight Fund are expanding our capacity to provide transitional jobs to older at-risk youth, ages 18-24, particularly those coming out of incarceration or detention.rnrnThrough a one-year investment of almost $1 million, the City will be funding a program operated by the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in Philadelphia.rnrnCEO will provide 150 slots of temporary, paid transitional work experience in the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. CEO staff will provide support for placement and retention in the labor force for young people, who are all returning to the neighborhoods in the 22nd Police District.rnrnOur Administration also instituted three major policy changes in the past year which will also improve the life opportunities and life outcomes of Philadelphians – an increase in the living wage to $12/hour for city contractors and subcontractors; decriminalization of marijuana; and I was proud to sign paid sick leave legislation last month – all initiated by City Council and ultimately supported by our Administration.rnrnTrauma Informed CarernrnThe final contributing factor to violence among youth which we have sought to address is the lack of trauma-informed care.rnrnVery young children exposed to trauma early in life often act out in ways early childhood providers are not equipped to handle, which may result in a child making bad choices and a lifetime of struggle.rnrnAmong victims of violence seen by Healing Hurt People, a program run in part by a Stoneleigh Fellow at Hahnemann Hospital, 56% reported that they had experienced 3 or more hardships during childhood.rnrnThe Health Federation of Philadelphia and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey recently received an award from The William Penn Foundation to provide foundational training on trauma to early childhood educators and parents in the 22nd District. The award, $473,000 over two years, will instruct 600 parents and 350 early childhood educators who serve 1,600 children.rnrnThe City, in partnership with the Temple University Medical School, received $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to implement Ceasefire in the 22nd District, a program which stops the spread of violence in communities by using methods and strategies associated with disease control. Ceasefire is now partnering with Healing Hurt People to provide hospital-based, trauma-informed interventions for patients at Temple University Hospital.rnrnPhiladelphia’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative is developing a new way of addressing and responding to youth violence.rnrnThere’s a lot more to this work, and I’ve laid out much of our work and told you about some of our incredible partners and stakeholders.rnrnIt is no longer just about policing, arrests and prison – it is about prevention in the early stages of a young person’s life, intervention when they become at-risk to make bad choices, and – when they reach that fork in the road – ensuring that every single child has the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, crime and violence.rnrnWe have taken a targeted, place-based approach to focus on neighborhoods with the greatest needs. Going forward, part of the Collaborative’s mission is to develop a long-term, city-wide strategy that will be woven into the fabric of our government – every department and agency has a role to play in this work.rnrnAs Mayor, I didn’t invent picking up the trash or plowing snow – those operations happened before me an after me because that’s just what government does. Citizens pay tax dollars and expect to receive services. Since the crisis of violence is a true public health epidemic, there is no reason why we cannot make permanent our public service response to violence, especially youth violence, in the same way.rnrnBut you must ensure that this work continues inside and outside of government as well. As institutional leaders with broad influence across our city, you have the ability to inform and shape public policy.rnrnI will go, but the work, the effort, the impact must continue. And whoever comes next as mayor must understand how critically important, how vital this work is and continue it.rnrnSo, I am asking you, the members of the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative and those of you with us today who are not yet partners, to demonstrate your belief in the Collaborative’s work through your actions and resources. I’m asking you to make a commitment to the lives and life outcomes of young people in Philadelphia.rnrnEveryone can do something: you can volunteer their time or services, you can align the mission of their organization with the goal of ending youth violence, or you can fund what others are doing through grant-making and investments.rnrnLet me be clear, this is not like much of the other work you are doing. This is not a a 3-year grant opportunity.rnrnIt means making a 10 year commitment or more. Quite frankly, I need you – we need you – to invest in a generation of change. That’s what we need, that’s what our children need to live to 20 and beyond. Many children out there on our street don’t even believe that they will live to 20. If you’re only interested in the short-term, this work isn’t for you. I’m ask you to get involved now. We’re at a critical stage in this work, and what we’re doing is working.rnrnIt’s true in city planning, and it’s true in violence prevention and youth safety – as Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”rnrnThis is the time, this is the critical point of moving boldly, aggressively, proudly forward – or the real possibility exists that we could gradually, slowly, painfully, one death at a time slide backward and watch our children die.rnrnI refuse to let that happen.rnrnMake this work your work, make this work the city’s work, make this work your foundation’s work, make this work our collective work…rnrnto save lives, to build futures, to set our city free from violence, free from bloodshed, free from trauma, free from oppression, free from fear, free to walk down the street, free to play outside, free to go to the supermarket…rnrnfree to know what our founding Founding Fathers really meant 239 years ago when they said, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”rnrnLet that be the promise of being a citizen of Philadelphia – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.rnrnIt will be in your hands now, to take up this great challenge of our city and nation – to continue this work, commit to this work, contribute to this work with the urgency of now.rnrnWe have become a great city and we have begun the process of addressing the issues that are holding us back. It cannot end here. There are thousands of youth, especially young, black men, that need your help. Young lives are in your hands.rnrnThank you for the work that you do and thank you for being here today. God bless you all.”rnrnWatch the speech here.rnrnView the Strategic Report here.

Congressman Fattah Lauds 2015 Healthcare Enrollment Numbers

The Philadelphia metro area enrolled 248,000 individuals; Fattah highlighted the news in remarks with the Director of the CMS Office of Minority HealthrnrnWASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a senior Democratic appropriator, lauded the recently announced open enrollment numbers as another huge milestone for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over the weekend, the White House announced that more than 11 million individuals had signed-up for plans during the 2015 open enrollment period which ended on February 15.rnrnThe preliminary enrollment figures showed that in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan areas, 248,265 consumers selected a plan or were automatically reenrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace; in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the overall number totaled 471,930 individuals. rnrn”In its second year, open enrollment numbers continued to surpass our expectations. Across the country, we now have an additional 11.4 million people either signed-up for the first time or re-enrolled in affordable, quality healthcare plans,” Congressman Fattah said. “Here at home, Philadelphia continues to meet enrollment projections—an indicator of the incredibly high demand for affordable health insurance coverage throughout our local community. I thank everyone across the city who worked tirelessly during the enrollment period to increase awareness of the open enrollment season and ultimately reduce the number of uninsured individuals and families in our community.”rnrnFattah was a leading Congressional advocate for President Obama’s healthcare and health insurance reform plan, helping to shape the legislative strategy that turned the bill into law. The Congressman also helped champion the reauthorization of the Office of Minority Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the creation the new Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a department that was established by the Affordable Care Act.rnrnCongressman Fattah highlighted these efforts and the new enrollment numbers at an event in Philadelphia yesterday with Dr. Cara James, Director of the Office of Minority Health at CMS. Dr. James was the featured speaker at a lecture on the ACA’s efforts to reduce health care disparities that persist throughout the United States, especially in minority populations. The event held at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, was hosted by the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania (MSEP), in celebration of Black History Month.rnrnPhoto – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150219/176643rnrn rnrnSOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka FattahrnrnrnrnRELATED LINKSrnhttp://www.fattah.house.gov

Edmunds.com Recognizes 22 Philadelphia Area Car Dealers with 2015 Five Star Dealer Awards

rnrnnnrnSANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Edmunds.com, the premier destination for car shopping, has honored 22 Philadelphia area car dealerships with its third annual Five Star Dealer Awards. The awards recognize car dealers who earned the highest marks for customer satisfaction in Edmunds.com’s Dealer Ratings and Reviews.rnrnThe 22 Philadelphia dealers recognized by Edmunds.com are:rnrnArdmore Toyota ScionrnrnAudi Willow GrovernrnColonial NissanrnrnConicelli HondarnrnConicelli HyundairnrnConicelli NissanrnrnConicelli Toyota Scion ConshohockenrnrnDel ChevroletrnrnDel Toyota ScionrnrnEisenhauer NissanrnrnFaulkner Toyota TrevosernrnFred Beans SubarurnrnInfiniti of Willow GrovernrnJeff D’Ambrosio Dodge Chrysler Jeep RamrnrnJL Freed HondarnrnLucas ChevroletrnrnMercedes-Benz of PrincetonrnrnOtto’s BMWrnrnPeruzzi ScionrnrnPiazza Mazda of West ChesterrnrnPorter NissanrnrnSloane Toyota of Malvernrnrn”We at Edmunds.com believe in putting the customer first, and our dealer partners embrace that same commitment to excellence,” says Edmunds.com CEO Avi Steinlauf. “These dealerships’ dedication to making the car-buying process easy earned glowing reviews from their customers, and we congratulate them on a job well done.”rnrnTo be eligible for the Five Star Dealer Award, the Dealer Partner must have earned an average customer review rating of five stars on Edmunds.com – with a minimum of 20 reviews during the previous two years – as of December 31, 2014.rnrnCar shoppers can look up the reviews and ratings for any dealer in their area on Edmunds.com’s “Find a Dealer” page at http://www.edmunds.com/dealer-reviews/. Winning dealerships are distinguished by The Five Star Dealer badge.rnrnDealers interested in participating in Edmunds.com’s Dealer Partner program are encouraged to visit the Dealer Center at http://www.edmunds.com/dealers/ or call 1-855-EDMUNDS.rnrnAbout Edmunds.com, Inc.rnCar-shopping website Edmunds.com serves nearly 18 million visitors each month. With Edmunds.com Price Promise®, shoppers can get an instant, upfront price for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Car shoppers can browse not only inventory listings at Edmunds.com and on its acclaimed apps, but also comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories. Named by Maritz Research as one of the most trusted online consumer review sites – and the only automotive site listed in the top ten – Edmunds.com welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Live Help Line at 1-855-782-4711 and help@edmunds.com, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook. Edmunds.com can also be found on YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Flipboard. The company is based in Santa Monica and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit.rnrnContact:rnRachel Rogers/Jeannine Fallon/Aaron Lewis/Stephanie Mar rnEdmunds.com Corporate Communicationsrnwww.Edmunds.comrnMedia Hotline: 310-309-4900rnpr@edmunds.comrnrnLogo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130612/MM31390LOGOrnrn rnrnSOURCE Edmunds.comrnrnrnrnRELATED LINKSrnhttp://www.edmunds.com