LAncaster Equity Community Development Corporation

From the 1980s until 2017, the Community Action Partnership (CAP) had a subsidiary called CAP Housing Inc., which owned and maintained a subsidized housing complex called Duke Manor. In 2017, that extension of the CAP was remade into Lancaster Equity Community Development Corporation.

Currently, Lancaster Equity still holds and maintains the Duke Manor property, which has generated significant revenue over the last several decades, and now invests that revenue in developing other properties around the County. Those properties are located primarily in the south side of Lancaster City.

See below to learn more about the other innovative ways in which Lancaster Equity is fulfilling its mission to:

“Provide Economic Opportunity for Everyone.”

 Duke Manor

Duke Manor

Innovative Structure

Lancaster Equity (LECDC), a macro-collaborative community development corporation, is believed to be the first of its kind. LECDC’s board is comprised of representatives from a variety of organizations that do community and economic development work in Lancaster, including: Community Action Partnership, Spanish-American Civil Association, Lancaster County Workforce Development Board, Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership, Lancaster Coalition to End Homelessness, Lancaster City Alliance, Community First Fund, Tabor Community Services, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, ASSETS, and Habitat for Humanity proving that collaboration instead of competition can help make our community stronger.

 The vacant lot and future home of Beaver Street Park

The vacant lot and future home of Beaver Street Park

Beaver Street Park

Through canvassing work and relationship building done by our Block CAPtain, Vasthi, it came to the attention of the Coalition to Combat Poverty staff that this property (a vacant lot) caused a lot of issues for this neighborhood. The neighbors were brought in to a community meeting to discuss the property and see what they wanted to happen with it and a consensus was formed that it should be turned into a park. From there, the idea was pitched to Lancaster Equity to purchase the lot from the Redevelopment Authority for $1 and the motion passed. When the Coalition staff and Beaver Street residents arrived at the Redevelopment Authority they soon learned that there was a competing bid for the property for $13,000 -a few hundred dollars higher than the assessed value- by a developer who wanted to turn it into a parking lot. When the residents spoke out passionately for the project they hoped to see in this un-utilized space, the city awarded Lancaster Equity the bid over the private developer.

Since that meeting, the organization has been working closely with RGS Associates and residents to create concept drawings that are thoughtfully designed to minimize safety concerns and are still in line with residents’ vision. The capital campaign has begun and we are actively seeking donations to implement the project.

 A new kitchen in one of the rehabbed homes

A new kitchen in one of the rehabbed homes

Safe, Clean, Affordable Housing for All

Lancaster Equity rehabs blighted houses with CAP’s social enterprise construction crew, CAPital Construction, which is comprised of individuals with barriers to employment who are taught the soft and hard skills (including lead remediation) that they need to get a construction job in the future and are paid a livable wage.

Upon completing a renovation, LECDC either sells those homes to low-moderate income first time homebuyers through Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership’s First Time Homebuyer Program or acts as a scattered-site landlord depending on the property and the need. Since LECDC maintains nonprofit status it only needs to break-even to stay viable. However, when there is a profit margin those funds are reused to purchase other blighted properties and the virtuous cycle continues.