SoWe Envision A Better Neighborhood

SoWe Boundaries
SoWe Boundaries – click to enlarge

SoWe is a resident-driven initiative of Tenfold in Southwest Lancaster City. We engage the diverse voices in our community to strengthen the economic and social well-being of the neighborhood. Together, we’ve identified five priority areas:

  • Connecting neighbors to each other as well as education and resources
  • Creating and maintaining safe, quality housing for low-income residents
  • Supporting local businesses & promoting commercial activity
  • Improving and maintaining our streets and parks
  • Increasing neighborhood safety

Our Goals for this year include:

  • Attracting new businesses to fill several empty storefronts in the neighborhood
  • Installing two new murals
  • Developing two new affordable housing units
  • Providing welcome baskets to new refugee families who move into the neighborhood
  • Recruiting resident leaders for our block liaison program
  • Launching a Neighborhood Champion program where residents get a stipend for recruiting and leading monthly neighborhood trash clean-ups
  • Installing 30 rain barrels in the neighborhood
  • Hosting free Park Programming and events in our 3 Public Parks (Culliton, Brandon and the Pocket Park)
  • Providing free education on tree maintenance, composting, native plants, nature in our neighborhood/parks, financial literacy, first-time homebuying, and proper trash/recycling disposal.

The SoWe Office is located at 417 Poplar St – Lancaster, Pa 17603. The office has resources and meeting space available to the SoWe Community! Please stop in M-F 9am – 5pm to visit us! To reach us by phone, call: 717-455-3626.

The SoWe Board of Directors meets every other 4th Monday of the month at 5:30PM (with the first meeting of the month in February). Check our Events Calendar for details. Meetings are open to the public and neighbors are encouraged to attend!

Read our 2019 Annual Report

SoWe Remember: A Brief History

In 2012, the Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) began a focused effort to rehabilitate houses in the southwest, or Cabbage Hill, area of Lancaster City. With monies from the Lancaster County Community Foundation (LCCF), matched by LHOP funds, a program to purchase blighted and often condemned houses was begun with the intent to turn those homes into first-time homeownership opportunities.

After two years of operation, this initial LHOP housing rehab program was recognized by officials from the Wells Fargo Bank, who encouraged LHOP to apply for planning funds from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation (WFRF). That planning application was submitted in August 2014 and was funded for $100,000 by the WFRF in April 2015. The planning process was started in June of 2015 under the leadership of LHOP with a new group of neighborhood residents and stakeholders called the SouthWest Neighborhood Leadership Board (SWNLB).

After 14 months of meetings, focus groups, etc., the southwest neighborhood plan was completed in September 2016. At that time, the LHOP Board agreed to do two things: (1) place the SWNLB within the LHOP organization as one of its functioning committees; and (2) to submit an application to the WFRF for implementation funds for the completed plan.

The implementation application was submitted to the WFRF in October 2016; and the award of $1.15 million was announced by the WFRF in June 2017. At that point, the SWNLB had seven functioning committees, based on the elements of the plan; and the Board had changed its name to SoWe or the Southwest Community Board.

Subsequent to the WFRF award, several other community organizations have made financial commitments to SoWe, including the High Foundation, the Steinman Foundation, and an anonymous family foundation.

The SoWe Board meets monthly on the fourth Monday of each month, and the seven functioning committees meet each month between the monthly meetings of the Board. Several activities have been undertaken using the funds from the WFRF and the other donors; those activities are communicated to the Board and the community at the monthly meetings.

The Plan

SoWe Collaborative

Financial Investors

Community Partners

Project Sponsors