On July 9th, CLHI and our partners – The Neighborhood Foundation and the Camden Community Development Association (CCDA) – kicked off this summer’s Decorative Board Up program! In its 5th year, the initiative is providing 3 local jobs, engaging community volunteers, and giving a makeover to about 75 abandoned houses in North Camden this summer.

Just a few weeks in, and the Decorative Board Up crew’s work is already turning heads! Check out their butterfly mural at N. 3rd and Erie Streets, featuring brightly colored designs painted by local youth and artists Chris Toepfer (Chicago), Nicole Olivieri (Camden), and Jackie Santiago (Camden). The crew has boarded and beautified the windows and doors of over 50 abandoned homes in North Camden this July.

“We’re getting a lot done,” says Chris Toepfer of The Neighborhood Foundation, who’s performed Decorative Board Up in North Camden alongside local residents for five summers in a row. Check out photos here! “I love seeing the difference it makes.”

He adds, “More of Camden needs this. I’d love to work with community organizations and Camden residents to expand the program across the city.” Decorative Board Up preserves Camden’s housing stock while addressing issues of physical blight and brightening blocks with art. Jessica Franzini of CLHI comments, “Whenever I see blighted abandoned buildings in Camden, I picture the difference a little paint and a local job could do for that block. I completely agree that more neighborhoods need this program.”

Anyone interested in bringing Decorative Board Up to their community of Camden should contact Curt Macysyn of the Camden Community Development Association at ccda.dir@gmail.com.