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The city of Camden is the largest municipality in Camden County and the 13th most populous city in New Jersey. As of 2019, the city’s population is 73,562 residents with a median age of roughly 30 years old. The city’s residents are predominantly Hispanic (48 percent) and Black (41 percent). Only 6 percent of Camden residents are white, and 3 percent are Asian.

The Camden team’s geographic focus is on the Parkside neighborhood, a predominantly Black neighborhood in southeast Camden. Parkside is an under-resourced neighborhood that has experienced decades of disinvestment which has resulted in deficient social, economic, and health outcomes for its residents. The Parkside neighborhood also has many assets that the community can leverage. Parkside is home to several of the city’s public schools, including Camden High, which is currently undergoing a $133 million construction project and will serve more than 1,200 students. Haddon Avenue is known as “Medical Mile,” with Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Cooper University Hospital. The neighborhood connects to Farnham Park, which has 72 acres of green space with trails overlooking the Cooper River.

The BHEC Camden team aims to “elevate community health through quality housing, a stronger commercial corridor, increased healthy food access, revitalized green spaces, strengthened community ties, and better educational outcomes.” The team has identified a multi-pronged approach to community and economic development, including wealth creation through affordable homes for-sale, mixed-use and mixed-income development, small business development and entrepreneurship, and healthy food access. The team’s built environment pipeline includes single-family homes for-sale and affordable multifamily rental housing as well as commercial redevelopment projects (e.g., office and retail space), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), and educational facilities. The BHEC Camden team has expressed a desire to influence the city’s development approvals process, create better alignment among stakeholders, and influence capital resource flows to the Parkside neighborhood that prioritize residents’ needs.


City team organizations

  • Parkside Business & Community in Partnership (PBCIP) is a nonprofit CDC that has worked in the Parkside neighborhood for over 25 years and has deep-rooted relationships with local residents, businesses, and institutions. PBCIP “takes a holistic approach by integrating commercial revitalization, housing, and quality-of-life initiatives to restore, rather than replace, the neighborhood.” Given the CDC’s longstanding history and relationships in Parkside, it has various initiatives and efforts in place to support its work through BHEC, including work with the Haddon Avenue Business Association/Roots to Prevention and the PRIDE (Block Captains) Network. Over the years, PBCIP has successfully applied for and received several rounds of Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credits (NRTC) funding and investments. The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation has awarded PBCIP with multiple grants, including one establishing the Parkside collaborative.
  • Urban Development Partners is a for-profit developer, located in Weehawken, New Jersey, that jointly owns multiple properties on Haddon Avenue in the Parkside neighborhood with PBCIP. In 2015, Equitable Development Consultants and HDS Home & Design merged to form Urban Development Partners. It provides a range of services, including development and consultant, construction and brokerage, and training services.
  • Cornerstone Community Partners is a for-profit developer in Pennsylvania that does work in the Greater Philadelphia area. An official Benefit Corporation, CCP has completed development projects – master planned, homebuilding and mixed use – with value of over $1 billion dollars. CCP’s CEO participated as a steering committee member in the Parkside neighborhood revitalization planning process and has remained involved in the Parkside neighborhood since.
  • Roots to Prevention is a cross-sector collaborative, supported by the BUILD Health Challenge, Virtua Health and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. One of its goals is to provide healthy food access throughout the city of Camden. The collaborative evolved from PBCIP’s Roots to Market urban agriculture program that’s focused on helping local residents learn how to participate in the local food economy. Among its efforts are to develop a Food Bucks (FBRx) voucher for residents to exchange for healthy foods.
  • Latin American Economic Development Association (LAEDA)  is a nonprofit organization that provides entrepreneurship training and business counseling. LAEDA is a member of the Parkside Collaborative, supported by the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, and it is specifically involved with the team’s commercial revitalization efforts.
  • CAMCare is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that provides healthcare services to residents in both Camden and Gloucester counties. CAMCare has seven locations in its service area, and it will serve the Parkside neighborhood through the development of a new FQHC at 1301 Haddon Avenue.
  • Cinnaire, located in Lansing, Michigan, is a national CDFI that “provides access to investment funding, lending options and title services that support community and economic development” in various states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, including New Jersey.
  • Purpose Built Communities, established in 2009, is a nonprofit dedicated to replicating a model based on the revitalization of the East Lake neighborhood in Atlanta nationwide. Purpose Built Communities provides pro bono consulting services to its network of 25 communities, including the city of Camden.
  • Virtua Health is one of the largest nonprofit healthcare systems in southern New Jersey. Virtua acquired Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center on Haddon Avenue in the Parkside neighborhood in 2018. This healthcare system has invested primarily in healthy food access and supported Roots to Prevention. In 2020, Virtua Health established the Eat Well Mobile Grocery Store to offer healthy food at below-market prices to Burlington and Camden county residents.
  • Camden Redevelopment Agency is the city’s lead agency for redevelopment and brownfields/environmental management. The agency has been a partner in the development process, assisting PBCIP and partners in the land acquisition process, and its executive director has worked with PBCIP for several years.
  • New Jersey Community Capital is a statewide CDFI that has provided financial and technical assistance to PBCIP in the past.