east side rising

East Side Rising

Wilmington’s historic East Side community, which dates back to the 1600s, is comprised of Census Tracts 9 and 29. The area is currently plagued by low levels of home ownership and income, high levels of vacancy and blight, and associated crime.

  • According the 2010 Census, just 20% of units within the East Side are owner-occupied, compared to 42% citywide. 64% of units in the East Side were renter-occupied, compared to 46% citywide.
  • Housing vacancy is estimated at 17% for the East Side, compared to 12% for the city.
  • 40% of the population is considered below the poverty level, according to the 2010 Census, compared to 23% citywide
  • The East Side has been identified by the Wilmington Police Department as one of four major crime hotspots in the city, based on the analysis of Dr. James Nolan that inform police deployment under the City’s Strong Neighborhoods Initiative.

Wilmington Housing Partnership (WHP) began developing homeownership projects on the East Side in 1998 with the completion of McCaulley Court, a 53-unit housing development beginning in 2003 and completed in 2006, Kirkwood Manor I and II, producing 47 units for homeownership to low-to-moderate income homebuyers.  Building off WHP’s investment, in 2008, WHP and Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HHNNC) began working together on the East Side; helping to build 15 homes at a project called Hope Landing at Church and Bennet Streets. Inter-Neighborhood foundation (INF) has been a neighborhood-based community development organization on the East Side since 1981. It has successfully implemented community clean-ups, developed and maintained community gardens, redeveloped nuisance properties, owned, managed and developed multi-family housing units throughout its targeted neighborhoods, and provided owner-occupied rehab loans/grants to hundreds of community homeowners.

In 2009, when the East Side, including Upper East Side, participated in the Blueprint Community strategic planning process with the University of Delaware Center for Community and Research Service. The planning process, which included extensive community input, helped unify a variety of groups around a common vision for neighborhood redevelopment on the East Side.

In November 2013, WHP, in conjunction with the City of Wilmington, led by Department of Housing and Real Estate Director and JP Morgan Chase, finalized a 5 to 10 year comprehensive study by KSK Planning Architects of Philadelphia, PA.  This study analyzed problematic existing conditions on the East Side and Upper East Side, current assets which to build upon, with a focus on bettering this community primarily through affordable housing. As a result, a coalition including local non-profit groups, community members, developers, bankers, and the City of Wilmington joined together to form the East Side Rising coalition to execute KSK Architects’  2013 “Wilmington East Side Neighborhood Investment Plan.” The goals of the plans are: community empowerment, housing stabilization, community health, economic development, workforce development, public safety, housing counseling, a community benefits agreement and youth development. Each coalition member committed to a defined role in the revitalization strategy, allowing the community to marshal resources towards a collective goal.

The following public and private entities came together, signed an MOU November, 2013 and East Side Rising was born.

East Side Blueprint Community Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council
Inter-Neighborhood Foundation University of Delaware for Community Research
Habitat for Humanity New Castle County Stepping Stones Community Federal Credit Union
Central Baptist Community Development Corp  
Wilmington Housing Partnership  
Woodlawn Trustees  
American Baptist Churches of PA and DE  
Interfaith Community Housing  

WHP Role
WHP, leading the East Side Rising housing initiative, remains focused on acquiring vacant and abandoned properties in Wilmington’s East Side neighborhood. The first project within East Side Rising is the 800 block of Bennett Street (802-812 Bennett). Demolition took place on December 1, 2014.

Financial Assistance has been provided by…

JP Morgan Chase in excess of $550,000
Bank of America
Capital One
City of Wilmington
Comenity Bank
M&T Bank
PNC Foundation
Rockford Woodlawn Fund