Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services Records

Collection ID: 
Acc. 971
3 linear feet
Collecting Area: 




The National Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corpor​ation

In 1968, a resident-led campaign for better housing began in Pittsburgh, PA. This grass roots movement garnered support and became the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) in Pittsburgh. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLB) became involved with the local Pittsburgh effort in 1970 and expanded the local effort into a national one. These evolved over time into the NeighborWorks organization.

In 1974, Congress enacted the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and provided that CDBG grants could capitalize NeighborWorksloan funds. In that year, NHS partners in Oakland, CA conceived of a national loan-purchase resource that would buy loans from local NHS organizations, replenishing local loan funds. They named the new organization Neighborhood Housing Services of America (NHSA). Its initial funding came from the Urban Reinvestment Task Force.

In 1978, Congress institutionalized the NHS network by enacting the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Act, which created Neighborhood Reinvestment as the successor to the Urban Reinvestment Task Force. The Act charged Neighborhood Reinvestment with promoting reinvestment in older neighborhoods by local financial institutions in cooperation with the community, residents and local governments.

Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (PNHS)

The Philadelphia Neighborhood Housings Services, Inc. (PNHS) was incorporated in June, 1975 and was chartered as a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation. The PNHS became operational in 1976.

The mission of the PNHS was to combine the resources of Philadelphia financial institutions and philanthropic organizations with those of community residents toward the goal of halting the process of disinvestments and deterioration that threatened to destroy many of Philadelphia’s older residential neighborhoods. The PNHS tried to improve the flow of information and communication between community residents and city, state, and federal offices.

A Central board of directors governed the PNHS. Operating under the Central board were four branch offices: Allegheny West, East Frankford, Southwest, and Belfield. The branch offices of Allegheny West, East Frankford, and Southwest were in place by 1982. The Belfield branch office was established in 1983.

From its inception the PNHS was involved with various city offices and philanthropic organizations. Important ones among these included the William Penn Foundation and the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC). The foundation provided funding for rehabilitation efforts. The PCPC provided guidance for city revitalization efforts. The NHS also worked closely with the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority to locate sites for rehabilitation and funding.

On the national level, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided guidance and funding for the PNHS.

Neighborhood offices under PNHS undertook a variety of initiatives. One was the Apartment Improvement Program (AIP) in the Mt. Airy Section of the city. This was designed to help residents modernize and improve apartments at low cost. The South West Weatherization program, begun in 1982, showed community residents how to weather proof their residences. In 1983, the Comly Rich house in East Frankford was rehabilitated successfully using grants provided by Philadelphia charitable organizations. Site improvements like these were made by the NHS in many areas around Philadelphia with the help of the City of Philadelphia.

In June 1987 the PHNS was disbanded. Financial and administrative difficulties precipitated the demise of the local Philadelphia organization.


The collection consists of three linear feet, and covers a period from 1958 to 2002, with the bulk of the material from 1982-1987.

The collection has eight series. The Administrative Series has the most material and is the strength of the collection. The majority of the information relates to the administrative functions of the main PNHS office, with an emphasis on Board minutes and meetings from the years 1982 through 1987. There is a particular emphasis on the final Board meeting, which took place on June 18, 1987.

The Southwest Branch Office Series provides materials detailing the administrative activities of this branch office. Another series, Initiatives, contains material on special programs and activities dealing with housing-related issues sponsored by the PNHS; included are records from the other neighborhood branch offices.

The Clippings Series includes news clippings, magazine articles and copies of articles from 1976-1990 related to PNHS programs and housing issues. The Un-filed Materials Series was created from a group of folders labeled "to be filed." The other series are: Maps, Publications, and Publications from Other Organizations.


Correspondence is interfiled, according to date, within the series in which they were originally found.

  1. Administration
  2. Publications
  3. Initiatives
  4. Southwest Branch Office
  5. Other Organizations: Publications
  6. Un-filed Materials
  7. Clippings
  8. Maps


Series I. Administration. This series includes information about the structure and function of the Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. Types of materials include minutes, handwritten notes, agendas, memoranda, reports, correspondence, contracts, forms and manuals. Materials are from the group of sub series: Advertising (1984), Annual Reports (1982-1986), Annual Meetings (1983-1986), Articles of Incorporation (1975), Board Nominating Committee (1984-1985), By-Laws (1984) and its sub series Drafts and Revisions (1982-1984), Central Board Meetings (1982-1987), Central Board Minutes (1982-1987), Conferences (1982-1983), Contracts (1984-1985), Ethics Policies, Executive Committee Meetings (1984-1985) and Minutes (1984-1986), Financial (1983-1986), Letterhead, and Personnel, with the sub series Executive Director Search (1985), Job Descriptions (1984-1986), Policies (1984-1987), Staff (1983-1986) and Miscellaneous (1982-1985). The Executive Director Search and Staff folders are RESTRICTED.

Series II. Publications. This series includes the publications NHS Update, a quarterly newsletter of the activities of the PNHS, and feasibility studies of the Overbrook and Morris Park neighborhoods.

Series III. Initiatives. This series contains memoranda, handwritten notes, correspondence, reports, drafts of reports and agreements, lists of lots and properties, survey forms, committee meeting notes and agendas, guidelines, and flyers relating to various initiatives of Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. Specific sub series include: 7th Street (1988-1995), Abott Square (1981-1989), Apartment Improvement Program (1983-1986), Delaware River Waterfront (1958-2002), Displacement (1974-1980), Expansion (1980-1986), Home Weatherization (1982), Insurance Full Partnership (1983), Loan Policy (1983-1984), Mapping (1983), NRC Program Review (1983-1983), Neighborhood Impact Committee (1982-1983), Neighborhood Self-Reliance (1985-1986), New Directions Program (1983-1984), Northern Liberties Land Use Study (1976-1978), Northern Liberties Study (1977-1979), Queen Village (1988-1991), Site Improvement (1983-1984), and Urban Homesteading (1982-1984).

Series IV. Southwest Branch Office. Thi
s series includes information on the development, management and activities of the Southwest Branch office of the PNHS. Types of materials include minutes, agendas, reports, handwritten notes, census data and personnel forms. In this series are the sub series Southwest Board Meetings (1982-1987), Southwest Board Minutes (1982-1987), Southwest Board Miscellaneous (1983-1986), Board Retreats (1986), Community Relations Committee (1982), Planning Committee (1986-1987), and Program Development (1981-1984), which relates to the establishment of this branch office. Also included are Personnel (1982, 1985), Initiatives and its sub series Data Collection (1980, 1982, 1986) and Urban Homesteading (1984, 1986), which includes data on the neighborhood that was served by this office; Miscellaneous (1983, 1986) and Publications (1984, 1986). The Personnel folder is RESTRICTED.

Series V. Other Organizations: Publications. This series contains publications from: Drexel Institute of Technology (1957; 1970), Exxon (1980), Foundation for Architecture (1987), Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (1985), Pennsylvania Governor’s Energy Council (1982; undated), Philadelphia Electric Company (1977), Preservation Coalition of Philadelphia (1993), Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia (1964), Shell (undated), United States Department of Energy (1978), University City Science Center (1965).

Series VI. Un-filed Materials. This series contains copies of legislation, forms, census information, lists of properties, program descriptions, and handwritten notes dating from 1977-1986.

Series VII. Clippings. This series contains clippings and copies of clippings from newspapers and articles from magazines about issues directly and indirectly related to PNHS programs. Sub series, which retain the original order created by the organization, include: Clippings (1976-1987), Clippings (1978-1988), Copies of Clippings (1987-1988), Clippings (1988-1989), Copies of Clipping (1989), Clippings and Copies of Clippings (1989-1990).

Series VIII. Maps.
This series contains maps of Philadelphia, neighborhoods, and site maps. Many of the maps are not dated. The dated maps span the years 1981-1985.




This collection includes restricted materials. Access will be permitted and a "Restricted Use Form" must be completed. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information.




1 Advertising 1984
2 Annual Reports 1982-1984
3 Annual Meetings 1983-1986 4 Articles of Incorporation 1975
5 Board Nominating Committee 1984-1985
6 By-Laws 1984
7 By-Laws: Drafts and Revisions 1982-1984
8 Central Board Meetings 1982-1983
9 Central Board Meetings 1984
10 Central Board Meetings 1984
11 Central Board Meetings 1985


1 Central Board Meetings 1985
2 Central Board Meetings 1986
3 Central Board Meetings 1987
4 Central Board Meetings 1987
5 Central Board Meetings 1987
6 Central Board Minutes 1982-1983
7 Central Board Minutes 1984
8 Central Board Minutes 1985
9 Central Board Minutes 1986-1987


1 Conferences 1982
2 Conferences 1983
3 Conferences 1983
4 Contracts with Individuals 1985
5 Contracts with Corporations 1984-1985
6 Ethics Policies undated
7 Executive Committee Meetings 1984
8 Executive Committee Meetings 1985
9 Executive Committee Minutes 1984-1986
10 Financial 1983-1986
11 Letterhead undated


1 Personnel—Executive Director Search- 1985 (Restricted-closed)
2 Personnel—Job Descriptions 1984-1986
3 Personnel—Policies 1984-1987
4 Personnel—Staff 1983-1986 (Restricted-closed)
5 Personnel—Miscellaneous 1982-1985



6 NHS Publications 1983



7 Street 1988-1995
8 Abbott’s Square 1981-1989
9 Apartment Improvement Program 1983-1986
10 Delaware River Waterfront 1958-2002
11 Displacement 1974-1980
12 Expansion 1980-1986


1 Home Weatherization 1982
2 Insurance Full Partnership 1983
3 Loan Policy 1983-1984
4 Mapping 1983
5 NRC Program Review 1982-1983
6 Neighborhood Impact Committee 1982-1983
7 Neighborhood Self-Reliance 1985-1986
8 New Directions Program 1983-1984
9 Northern Liberties Land Use Study 1976-1978
10 Northern Liberties Study 1977-1979
11 Queen Village 1988-1991
12 Site Improvement 1983-1984
13 Urban Homesteading 1982-1984



1 Administration—Board Meetings 1982-1983
2 Administration—Board Meetings 1984
3 Administration—Board Meetings 1985-1987
4 Administration—Board Minutes 1982-1983
5 Administration—Board Minutes 1984
6 Administration—Board Minutes 1985-1986
7 Administration—Board Minutes 1987
8 Administration—Board Miscellaneous 1983-1986
9 Administration—Board Retreats 1986
10 Administration—Community Relations Committee 1982
11 Administration—Planning Committee 1986-1987
12 Administration—Program Development 1981-1984


1 Administration—Personnel 1982,1985 (Restricted-closed)
2 Initiatives—Data Collection 1980, 1982, 1986
3 Initiatives—Urban Homesteading 1984, 1986
4 Miscellaneous 1983, 1986
5 Publications 1984, 1986


1 Drexel Institute of Technology 1970
2 Drexel Institute of Technology 1957
3 Exxon 1980
4 Foundation for Architecture 1987
5 Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation 1985
6 Pennsylvania Governor’s Energy Council 1982
7 Philadelphia Electric Company 1977
8 Philadelphia City Planning Commission 1966, 1983
9 Preservation Coalition of Philadelphia 1993
10 Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia 1964


1 Shell Undated
2 United States Department of Energy 1978
3 University City Science Center 1965



1 Un-filed materials 1977-1986



5 Clippings 1976-1987
6 Clippings 1978-1988
7 Clippings 1988-1989


1 Clippings and Copies of Clippings 1989-1990
2 Copies of Clippings 1987-1988
3 Copies of Clippings 1989



4 Maps 1981-1985