Watch CBS News

Millions of opioid settlement money will help struggling Kensington residents

New programs aim to help Kensington residents stay off the streets
New programs aim to help Kensington residents stay off the streets 02:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Kensington Planning Process has been at the forefront of helping address key issues in the community, soliciting feedback from residents on what issues they feel should take priority.

Community leaders and stakeholders listened and announced on Wednesday new programs to help people struggling in the community.

RELATED: Nonprofit Savage Sisters Recovery says forcing it out of Kensington will worsen drug crisis 

Millions of dollars of opioid settlement money will go to helping Kensington residents stay in their homes and off the streets.

"We need to understand that it is critical to have a plan to not just end this larger crisis but to prevent the next one," said Bill McKinney, who is with New Kensington Community Development Corporation.

Residents in Kensington will now be eligible to receive up to $5,000 to prevent foreclosure. The same amount for home repairs and up to $3,500 to help pay rent will also be available.

RELATED: Philadelphia police working with Kensington business owners as part of plan to clean up neighborhood: sources

A total of $7.5 million will go to Kensington, which will also help schools and parks in the area.

"We have to speak life into individuals who don't have a voice," said Patrice Rogers, who runs a program called Stop the Risk in Kensington.

Rogers, whose program helps those facing homelessness and opioid addiction, says she's happy Kensington is becoming a priority.

However, she's pessimistic that the city and others will make good on their promises.

"Everyone deserves safe streets, clean neighborhoods and equal opportuntities for housing," she said.

RELATED: Philadelphia city councilmembers form Kensington Caucus with hopes improving quality of life

Councilwoman Quetcy Lozada, who is a member of the Kensington Caucus, says their top priority is improving the quality of life for residents, including people suffering from addiction.

She says police will play a role in the effort but getting people the help they need will also be top of mind.

"We can't continue to allow for people to live on our sidewalks, in raw skin, in pain, on top of their addiction and look the other way. We cannot continue to do that. It is inhumane and irresponsible of us," she said.

When asked what enforcement will look like, Lozada couldn't say. However, she stressed the need to address the open-air drug market that continues to plague the community.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.