SoWe is a neighborhood revitalization effort led by Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership, its partners, and the residents of Southwest Lancaster. SoWe is a 25-person advisory board made of residents of the southwest community and key stakeholders. This body advises LHOP’s board of directors on the implementation of the Southwest Lancaster Revitalization Strategy. The Strategy identifies and prioritizes various neighborhood revitalization actions. The Strategy identifies six major focus areas to improve the neighborhood; neighborhood connections, community safety, economic opportunity, education, housing, and parks and public realm.
In 2012, LHOP embarked on a deliberate program to assist with housing programs in the City’s southwest neighborhood. LHOP began to purchase condemned houses, rehab, and sell them to income-qualified first-time homebuyers. That program continued into 2014 when LHOP was approached by the Wells Fargo Bank to undertake the rehab and sale of properties that had been foreclosed by the Bank. After completing two of these foreclosed properties, Wells Fargo Bank officials approached LHOP regarding the neighborhood improvement program of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation (WFRF). LHOP pursued planning funds from the WFRF for the southwest neighborhood of Lancaster City.
LHOP and its partners completed on a resident-driven planning process in September 2016. The result of this 14-month planning process is the Southwest Lancaster Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy. The Strategy identifies and prioritizes various neighborhood revitalization actions and provides cost estimates and a timetable for implementation
LHOP applied for implementation funds from the WFRF and in April 2017 was awarded $1.150 million, the largest grant ever provided by the WFRF. These funds have since been leveraged to bring over $3 million to the SoWe neighborhood. To date the SoWe initiative has expanded Bike Ambassador coverage to SoWe, developed a front porch light program, created part-time street-cleaning crew, assisted Price Elementary on becoming a Community School, assisted first-time home buyers to purchase in SoWe and much more. Learn more about SoWe at SoWelancaster.org