In 1964, a resident of a poor neighborhood in Pittsburgh was informed that she and her neighbors were to be relocated to make way for an urban renewal project. Like her friends and neighbors, she grew up there. She had a network of support. She enjoyed a sense of belonging. Yes, she also knew that the neighborhood wasn’t what it used to be, with growing crime, fewer neighbors owning their homes, and buildings showing signs of neglect. But it was her home, and she felt she could be the one to determine the neighborhood’s future, not some disconnected authority.

She harnessed the commitment and strength of her neighbors and urged City Council to  stop the redevelopment plans for her neighborhood. City Council agreed to do so if she could get private money and broader resident support to revitalize the area.

In Pittsburgh, with a new partnership of neighborhood residents, the business community, and City Hall, the first Neighborhood Housing Services organization was founded. And Dorothy Richardson, the neighborhood advocate, became its first Board President. After a protracted search by the federal government to find the best model to rebuild our cities in the 1970s, it was determined that this was perhaps the best way, and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Task Force was created by Congress to duplicate its success.

Today, the nationally chartered and congressionally supported non-profit is known as NeighborWorks® America. There are now over 240 in the network nationally.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks was the 27th one, created on December 19, 1977.

We are proud to be celebrating our 40th year of affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization work in the City of Reading and throughout Berks County. We hold fast to the model created by Ms. Richardson and adhere to the highest standards of the NeighborWorks® America network.

We invite you to join us at our 40th Anniversary “There’s No Place Like Home” Celebration, taking place on May 16, 2018 at the DoubleTree in Reading, PA from 5:30-9:30 PM.

We hope to provide an exciting evening filled with dinner, performances by the Circus School of Lancaster and a silent disco presented by Pollen Consolidated.

As Dorothy said to the Tin Man, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.”

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