Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Obama makes West Philly a 'Promise'

The president selected a Philly neighborhood as one of five new poverty-fighting districts.

TODAY, a day after the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty," President Obama will announce that a section of West Philadelphia has been selected as one of the first five federal "Promise Zones," a new program aimed at turning around some of the country's poorest neighborhoods.

Mayor Nutter will join Obama in the White House to announce the program, which gives the selected areas preferential treatment when applying for federal grants to boost early education, reduce crime and spur economic growth.

The Philadelphia "Promise Zone," which encompasses Mantua and surrounding areas, has about 35,000 residents, 51 percent of whom live in poverty and 13.6 percent of whom are unemployed.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, whose district includes the area, called the program "a comprehensive and accelerated effort to renew investment in the area, spur economic development and create local jobs."

The Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity will manage the program.

At more than 26 percent, Philadelphia's poverty rate is higher than that of any major U.S. city.

The other "Promise Zones" are in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Kentucky and Oklahoma's Choctaw Nation.

Aside from the leg up on federal grants, Obama will also push Congress for tax incentives to spur business and employment in those areas.