“St. Philip’s is a triple A: We are an ANCHOR. We are an ADVOCATE. We are an AGENT for change.”
WE BELIEVE children and families have the right to a neighborhood that provides safety, opportunity and hope. Healthy neighborhoods create opportunity pathways for people of all backgrounds, improving well-being and providing access to quality housing, good schools, jobs and amenities.
- A person’s zip code is the most powerful single predictor of health and opportunity.
- Socio-economic and racial diversity provides cognitive, social and economic benefits for ALL children and families.
- Intergenerational neighborhoods—where people of different ages reside together—create safe, stable communities that support overall well-being.
A healthy, economically vibrant & diverse community that celebrates its rich history and provides opportunities for residents of all backgrounds to live, work, play and thrive.
St. Philip’s created 1600 Pennsylvania Inc., a non-profit subsidiary of St. Philip’s focused on community development.
Change does not ride a bicycle. It is driven. As a school and community center, St. Philip’s is a triple A: We are an anchor. We are an Advocate. We are an Agent for Change to advance the neighborhood and anointed soils we choose to call home.
The South Dallas/Fair Park community is in recovery. Fifty years ago, legislation and growing neglect resulted in the intentional over-saturation of 373 liquor-related business within this four-mile area of Dallas. Forty-eight of those businesses were once within four blocks of St. Philip’s campus.
We use the word recovery in connection with the redemptive power of FAITH. We are standing on the rock-solid faith of a small and mighty parish of 70+ years ago who chose to look and serve beyond the walls of the church. Today, of the forty-eight liquor related businesses within four blocks of campus, only five remain. In addition, twenty-seven transactional drug properties within that same radius have been shut down, along with a disreputable motel.
Change does not simply arrive. It does not ride a bicycle. It is driven. Like an antibody, St. Philip’s accelerates the community’s vision for positive change. Faith has fueled our boldness. We continue to stand with neighbors to oppose adverse zoning petitions, along with linking vital social services and resources through thoughtful collaborations. We surrender to the acknowledgment that we are not driving. HE is our chauffeur and pilot.
Dr. Terry J. Flowers
St. Philip’s was founded in the late 1940s as an Episcopal church. Although the church waned, the School and Community Center blossomed into a dynamic South Dallas institution and community anchor that has been transforming lives through effective programs focused on Education, Hunger, Athletics, Senior Services and Youth Development for seven decades.
Today, St. Philip’s School serves grades PreK2 through 6 with a rich reputation for educating confident, morally strong, intelligent and caring servant-leaders. St. Philip’s Community Center enriches and empowers the lives of nearly 3,000 people with essential social services including a flourishing youth sports program, senior citizens’ transportation program, medical clinic, client-choice food pantry, a free legal clinic and a thriving Meals on Wheels program in partnership with Visiting Nurses Association which dis-tributes 1,100 meals a day to the homes of the elderly.
Our history of impacting the environment outside school walls continues to be critical to lasting success. Through responsiveness to the voices of the community, St. Philip’s has long partnered with neighbors as a change agent, transforming an adverse environment. This partnership led to the establishment of a neighborhood development corporation in the 1980s resulting in more than 70 new residential units within four blocks of campus. Apartment complexes ridden with drugs and prostitution and abandoned and burnt out buildings were replaced with community services and recreational spaces.
The neighborhood is still in recovery. Five decades ago, legislation and growing neglect triggered a blight that stripped away progress, pride, potential and promise. Located only 1.6 miles from downtown, resident median income in the St. Philip’s neighborhood is $27,339. The poverty rate is 26%.
Today, market-driven development surrounds the neighborhood and is rapidly expanding. It was recently identified by the City as one of the top eight neighborhoods most vulnerable to rapid transition and poised for growth. St. Philip’s is uniquely positioned to shepherd development in a way that ensures community ownership and opportunities for long-time residents to participate in the neighborhood’s future.
Developing a healthy neighborhood that benefits existing residents, attracts newcomers from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and provides quality affordable housing and opportunities for economic mobility requires deliberate and collaborative community planning.
The St. Philip’s neighborhood has partnered with The Real Estate Council to develop a comprehensive equitable development plan for the neighborhood. This process has meaningfully engaged multiple stakeholders including residents, government leaders and business/community leaders and culminates in the creation of a report that will inform future capital strategies.
St. Philip’s goal is to foster a housing continuum in the neighborhood with opportunities for homeownership and rental that are affordable for residents across the economic spectrum—defined as a family spending 30% or less of income on housing and utilities combined. Families paying more, especially lower income families, are cost burdened and may have difficulty meeting other basic needs (food, clothing, healthcare). Dallas’ lack of quality affordable housing also affects middle class residents who have been priced out of the Dallas market. St. Philip’s strategy will elevate the standard of living for low-income residents while providing quality amenities and comfort that attracts new residents looking for safe, quality housing proximate to the City’s center.
St. Philip’s Role:
SECURE: Acquire vacant lots and dilapidated residential structures to develop and/or rehabilitate with the purpose of preserving long-term affordability.
PARTNER: Strategically partner with organizations who can assist current homeowners with accessing available resources for modernization and rehabilitate.
SHEPHERD: Shepherd market rate residential development by cultivating relationships with conscientious private developers.
DEPLOY AVAILABLE TOOLS, INCLUDING:
Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ): In a Neighborhood Empowerment Zone, the City waives building and development fees for property owners and developers who participate in City housing programs. Homeowners can secure low-interest loans to renovate their homes and may quality for property tax relief.
Community Land Trust (CLT): A Community Land Trust supports St. Philip’s goal of preserving long-term affordability. A non-profit entity retains ownership of land in trust while selling homes on it at an affordable price with a resale price restriction. This protects socio-economic diversity by setting aside a portion of land long-term while providing ownership opportunities for families who otherwise may not be able to afford such an option. A CLT may also develop/maintain affordable rental housing, commercial spaces, gardens and other community facilities. Many cities have used this tool with great success. Today, there are more than 240 CLTs in 46 states.
Revitalization depends on successful economic development initiatives along major commercial corridors. St. Philip’s has partnered with CitySquare and Cornerstone Baptist Church, with support and leadership from The Real Estate Council, to collaboratively address the physical disrepair of structures in the area’s main commercial strip (Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd). St. Philip’s role is redeveloping the retail strip between Holmes & Colonial and bringing walkable urban retail to this section of MLK Blvd, which will serve as a catalyst for future investment.
St. Philip’s is also actively cultivating relationships with companies that share aligned values. Securing their presence in the neighborhood will spur economic development, employment and job training and stimulate promise, potential and possibility for greater revitalization of this beautiful, historical neighborhood.
St. Philip’s serves as a community advocate addressing nuisance properties and public safety concerns and proactively develops spaces that foster healthy community gathering and neighborhood pride. Our goal is to invest in infrastructure that increases physical activity and creates an ecosystem that fosters community health.
- Acquiring land adjacent to St. Philip’s existing athletic field to develop a community park and expanded athletic complex
- Acquiring an existing building proximate to the main campus to serve as a neighborhood center
- Redeveloping a former nightclub into a collaborative innovation venue and center for design-based programming
House of Parts is a family-owned hardware store that has been located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (MLK) for nearly twenty years. Walking through the front door is like stepping back in time: old wooden floors, historic tile ceilings, and a cashier who lives around the corner and knows patrons by name. Next door is Sunny Side Athletic Club, a physical fitness center owned and operated by a certified profession-al trainer. On a typical sunny day, you might see a client or two jogging up and down the front sidewalk or find the gym door propped open to let the breeze in while people mingle and lift weights inside.
Both businesses are located within a three-unit, historic retail space on MLK Jr. Blvd which St. Philip’s recently purchased. The buildings back directly on to the St. Philip’s athletic field and are immediately west of 1632 MLK, our first MLK mixed use renovation being done in partnership with The Real Estate Council (TREC). St. Philip’s purpose is to extend our impact as a catalyst for positive healthy economic redevelopment of MLK by renovating these additional properties while ensuring healthy businesses re-main in the neighborhood long-term.
Improvements have been made to the third unit to welcome a local small business owner who operates an active barber shop and was being dislocated. Both the barbershop and Sunnyside Gym are open late, creating a safe border for St. Philip’s planned expanded community park and athletic complex. Small businesses such as these create healthy community gathering spaces and honor the neighborhood’s history and heartbeat.
St. Philip’s feels a profound sense of urgency to leverage this critical window to advance the neighborhood. We are uniquely positioned to champion a successful initiative that embraces the opportunity market growth provides while addressing potential pitfalls. This centers upon ensuring meaningful community ownership of development efforts alongside investments that are catalytic, coordinated and result in a triple bottom line. This work cannot wait.
Dallas' Opportunity. Great cities provide great opportunity. Dallas is no exception. And yet a recent index of the country’s 274 largest cities published by The Urban Institute ranks Dallas dead last in economic and racial inclusion. Disparities are set to worsen as housing prices outpace the US average and affordability declines. The future of Dallas as an economic engine depends on the strength of its neighborhoods.
Investment without Displacement. St. Philip’s is positioned to serve as a catalyst to attract dignified urban revitalization to the surrounding neighborhood, ensuring the senior citizens and families who currently live here remain and thrive while welcoming newcomers from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.
TRACK RECORD OF EXCELLENCE—St. Philip’s is a school, community center, and neighborhood change agent. Since the 1980s, St. Philip’s has been at the forefront of transformational community development, including more than 70 residential housing units, redeveloping 14 crime-ridden liquor-related businesses, and re-igniting the area’s main commercial strip in partnership with The Real Estate Council through the Dallas Catalyst Project.
LOCAL DESIGN IS A BEST PRACTICE—Successful revitalization initiatives leverage the power of a local lead organization committed to a specific geography to provide community-based leadership for positive change.
STEWARD OF COMMUNITY TRUST—St. Philip’s is uniquely positioned to elevate the voice and wisdom of residents while working proactively with the City and developers. As a neighborhood anchor for more than 70 years, St. Philip’s has the community’s trust and the experience to shepherd revitalization in a way that welcomes newcomers and benefits residents who have stood the test of time.