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Kensington news: Encampment sweep, Fishtown Spring Sidewalk Sale, local pop-up markets, and “Weird Black Girls”

Start the week with Kensington Voice's Monday morning newsletter.

Ride Free staff play basketball in the Express One parking lot at Allegheny Avenue and Emerald Street on May 9, 2024. (Photo by Khysir Carter)

Good morning, neighbors.

Last week was a big one for all of us in the neighborhood.

For those who may have missed it, we've got plenty of coverage of the Parker administration's encampment sweep at Kensington and Allegheny avenues below.

Otherwise, here's to a fresh week with a new batch of events to check out.

As always, if you know of an event or resource you’d like us to include in future newsletters, email us at

News (in case you missed it)

Philly police lean on Kensington's “chaplain squad” and “Christian facilities” to move people toward addiction treatment

The Philadelphia Police Department has asked a Kensington church to expand its “chaplain squad” to connect people to addiction treatment, which in some cases means entering long-term recovery programs at Christian facilities that don’t provide evidence-based care, including required unpaid labor or “work therapy.”

Rock Ministries on Kensington Avenue has a crew of 200 volunteer chaplains, who the church dispatches to the streets “just about every day,” according to founder and pastor Buddy Osborn. The organization then directs people to a range of offsite addiction treatment partners, including a 16-acre farm in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania, called “God’s Mountain.”

Click here to read more.

Police disperse Kensington Avenue encampment with no city services present, city doesn't know where people went

Philadelphia Police Department officers dispersed people from Kensington Avenue early Wednesday morning as part of a planned encampment resolution process. 

No city social services were present during that time, despite promises from city leaders that the initiative would be “service-led.” Later Wednesday morning, city officials said they didn't know where people went and were "still trying to figure it out."

Click here to read more.

Kensington encampment cleanup: “There’s a whole bunch of cops out here, but there’s nobody to help us”

In a video shared with Kensington Voice, police push a legal observer off of Kensington Avenue as a woman yells about the services the city promised. 

“We been signing up for rehab, we been signing up for all this stuff, but where are the buses?” she shouted. “There’s a whole bunch of cops out here, but there’s nobody to help us. Where are the buses at? Where’s the mayor?”

Click here to read more.

After Kensington encampment sweep, legal advocates, community brace for increased enforcement

Following an encampment sweep on the 3000 and 3100 blocks of Kensington Avenue Wednesday, police have flooded the area, leading residents and activists to wonder when a law enforcement crackdown is coming.

Click here to read more.

Activities & Events 

May 14

Equally Informed Philly is hosting a Sound Off event at McPherson Square Library from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event will celebrate the 250th anniversary of The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. Come by and share what the milestone means to you.

Kensington Neighborhood Library is hosting a Bingo Night at Hispanic Community Counseling Services (3255 Kensington Ave) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All participants must be at least 21 years old.

H&H Books is hosting an author conversation with black authors Alex Smith and Elwin Cotman from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event is in celebration of Cotman’s latest story collection, “Weird Black Girls”. Click here to register and learn more.

May 15

The Philadelphia Water Department is hosting a community listening session at McPherson Square Library at 12:30 p.m. to inform folks about the Water Revitalization Plan (WRP). The WRP is the city’s 25-year plan to upgrade and strengthen the essential drinking water infrastructure.

May 18

Fishtown Neighbors Association is having its fourth annual Spring Sidewalk Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Neighbors will be participating by selling their merchandise either in front of their homes or their businesses. May 19 will be the back-up rain date. Click here to view the Spring Sidewalk Sale map to find out more.

The Bridge Studio is having a pop-up market event at their space from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be jewelry and food vendors, music, games, and more. Click here to register and learn more.

The Melody Market is hosting its “Melody Market” at StarBolt (1936 N Front St) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The market will feature a variety of vendors, performances from Drag queens and singers, and more. Click here to register and learn more.

May 19

Hive 76 is hosting Board Game Day. Come and play some games with friends or family. Click here to register.

Weekly Events


The Norris Square Senior Center offers free daily activities for adults 60 and older on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities include art, exercise, games, and socializing. Meals are also provided – $1.25 for breakfast and $1 for lunch.  


Heitzman Recreation Center hosts a free chess club on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for ages eight and up. No registration or prior experience is required. For more information, contact


The “Harrowgate Run Club” is hosting walking and running groups at Harrowgate Park on Tuesdays from 6:15 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Heitzman Recreation Center hosts free art classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays will consist of bracelet making, and on Thursdays, participants will be making arts & crafts. For more information, contact or call 215-537-3244.

For each Tuesday between April 30 and May 21, The Clay Studio is hosting  “Clay, Play & Read,” a four-week program from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at The CORE at Esperanza Health Center. Parents and children are welcome to come make art and read together. Click here to register and learn more.


Every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Galaei hosts its weekly discussion group, “Code Grindr”, in person at its location. This discussion group will unpack the negative impact that hookup apps have and the stigmas they uphold surrounding race, gender identity, and the harm they cause people. 

Looking for more open mics in the neighborhood? Tina’s Tacos hosts an open mic and live band karaoke night every Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Come by and show off your vocal skills or enjoy some local talent.


Every Thursday at 7 p.m., PhillySouls hosts weekly Bible studies at 1222 N Palethorp St. All creatives, Bible readers, and young professionals are welcome. To register for this week’s or future studies, click here.

Citywide Events

Free Mummers Concert

The Mummers Museum is hosting a free concert on May 15 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Come and enjoy the costumes and music from The Durning String Band.

Free Trainings

Energy Coordinating Agency

The Energy Coordinating Agency is offering a training program for people interested in a career in environmental remediation. This 10-week training gives you 4 industry certifications and the skills to turn abandoned or unused lots into greenspaces in your neighborhood. The training will be from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To apply, contact Tess Willams at 267-306-9551 or by email at

Fab Youth Philly Free Workshops for Summer Jobs

Fab Youth Philly is hosting free workshops to prepare teens for summer jobs this year at their Kensington location from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The workshops will run from April to June. During April, participants will learn about making resumes and filling out job applications. In May, they will learn what they need to know during job interviews. And in June, teens will work on time management and effective communication. Click here to register.

Forklift Certification Class

Project Home is offering a free forklift certification class this June. Participants will receive all-day hands-on training from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., learning how to operate forklifts. You must have a driver’s license to be eligible for the certification class. The deadline for applications is May 23. Click here to apply.

JEVS Project WOW

JEVS Human Services is offering its free Project WOW Certified Production Training Program to young adults ages 18 to 24 who did not complete a high school diploma. This program offers hands-on training in OSHA 10, a Production Technician Certificate, a High School Diploma through Penn Foster, and more. To register and learn more, click here.

Lifeguard Trainings

Parks & Rec has reopened its free lifeguard training for teens 16 years and older. Upon completion, you will earn free lifeguard certification, which allows you to earn a starting pay of $16 an hour. Click here to apply or learn more.

Mental Health First Aid Training

The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) offers free training for those interested in earning a Mental Health First Aid certification. The virtual training is facilitated weekly. Register here.

Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 19 is currently accepting applications for their Philadelphia training center. Earn money while you learn a new trade, and learn from experienced professionals in the field. Click here to apply and learn more.

Funding Opportunities

2024 Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance & Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’s Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program provides creative entrepreneurs with small business consulting and $2000 in critical funds. 51% of the program's funding is reserved for BIPOC entrepreneurs and those in low-income communities. The application window is from May 1 to May 31. To Apply for the grant program and learn more, click here.

Block beautification

As part of the Keep It Clean Philly campaign, the city is offering funding to block captains the PMBC Block Captain Beautification Grant to beautify their block. The grant amount can be as much as $500, and is only available to block captains registered through the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC). Click here to apply.

Business security

Does your business need extra security? Click here to apply for the city’s Business Security Camera Program. If your company wants additional upgrades, check out the Storefront Improvement Program.

Nonprofits can also apply for security enhancements through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.  

In Color Birding Club

From now until August, In Color Birding Club is offering school bus sponsorships for teachers and institutions taking their students to field trips in nature or other green spaces like gardens or arboretums. First priorities will be given to first-time applicants and teachers or institutions with a majority presence of BIPOC students. Click here to apply and learn more. 

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Violence Prevention Grant Program

The DA’s Office Violence Prevention Grant Program has returned, and community-based addiction recovery nonprofits are encouraged to apply.  To begin the application process, contact You must be a registered 501(c)(3) to be eligible for this grant opportunity.

Philadelphia Water Department State Grants

The Philadelphia Water Department has grants available for its Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund. Eligible homeowners can get up to $10,000 for unpaid water bills. To apply and learn more, click here.


Career Connected Learning PHL

Career Connected Learning PHL is connecting teens and young adults ages 12 to 24 with paid opportunities for the summer. Click here to learn more.

City of Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia is hiring for multiple positions, including Correctional Officer and Research & Information Analyst. View listings and apply here.

The city is also hiring in multiple civil service jobs. Click here to apply and learn more. 

Department of Commerce

The Philadelphia Department of Commerce is hiring a new Director of Corridor Improvements. Click here to apply and learn more. 

Division of Substance Use and Harm Reduction

The Division of Substance Use and Harm Reduction has several job openings available. View listings and apply here

El Centro

El Centro Big Picture High School is currently hiring STEM and English teachers. El Centro offers a collaborative workspace, project-based learning, paid parental leave, and more. To apply, send a resume and cover letter to

Esperanza Health Center

Esperanza Health Center has several job openings available. View listings and apply here.

Fab Youth Philly

Fab Youth Philly is hiring teens ages 15 to 18 as Play Captains for its summer program. The program will occur from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The pay rate is $13 an hour. Click here to apply and learn more.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse Family School is hiring for several positions, including positions of Lead Teacher Head Start and Assistant Teacher Head Start. To apply, contact

New Kensington Community Development Community 

NKCDC is hiring for several full-time positions. View listings here

Pathways to Housing PA

Pathways to Housing PA is hiring for several positions, including for a truck driver/warehouse assistant at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank at 3650 I St. Find listings and apply here


PennDot is hiring new engineers, equipment operators, inspectors, and mechanics. View listings and apply here

Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)

PGW is hiring for multiple positions including Call Center Representative, Field Service Technician, and more. Click here to apply.

Philadelphia Parks & Rec

Philadelphia Parks & Rec is currently hiring for multiple positions, including RSI Programming Specialist-Pops Playground and Seasonal Maintenance Attendant. To apply and learn more, click here.

School District of Philadelphia

The School district of Philadelphia is hiring Assistant Teachers. The starting salary is $20.61 an hour. Click here to apply.

Safe-Hub Philadelphia

Safe-Hub is hiring soccer coaches. Head coaches are paid $22 per hour while assistant and flex coaches are volunteer positions. Apply here

Waste Management

Waste Management is hiring for multiple positions with an average pay of $26 per hour. Click here to apply and learn more.


Filter Philly

Filter Philly provides free air purifiers, masks, and tests to local events and organizations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses. If you’d like to be supplied with a free purifier or equipment, contact

Fresh Choice Food Pantry

The Community Center at Visitation’s Fresh Choice Food Pantry is open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Additional offerings include coffee, light snacks, free vital checks, HIV testing, and Hepatitis-C testing. 


Applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are now open. Income-eligible families could receive up to $1,000 to pay for heating bills. Apply online or by mail. 


From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday, NKCDC’s Kensington Empowerment Hub is open for their Record Clearing Clinic. Clients can meet with lawyers from the Lawyers for Social Equity organization to have their cases reviewed to see if they can be cleared of any records.

Youth Employment Project (YEP)

Temple University’s Youth Employment Project (YEP) is looking to enroll out-of-school young adults ages 16 to 24 years old into their program to support them with earning their GEDs and transitioning to employment or higher education. Requirements include being a Philadelphia resident, highly determined and self-motivated, and having a basic understanding of computer skills. Click here to fill out their interest form.

Volunteer Opportunities

Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia is looking for volunteers for their author events. Volunteers will have the duties of greeting and ticketing patrons prior to events, assisting with audio equipment, and vetting questions from audience members. To volunteer, contact

Kensington Soccer Club

Kensington Soccer Club is looking for a Volunteer Coordinator. If you or someone you know is interested, send your resume to

Philly Community Wireless

Philly Community Wireless needs tech and outreach volunteers. Learn more here

Savage Sisters

Savage Sisters, an organization that serves people recovering from substance use disorders, has an outreach program where they directly serve folks with resources and food. On Tuesdays, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., they hand out warm food and harm reduction kits, and they also do a clean up around the area afterward. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Liddy at or 215-954-6199. 

Small Things

Small Things, a local food bank, opened a “free grocery store” style food pantry at 3510 A St. in Fairhill. Operating hours are Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is looking for volunteers

Kensington Voice programs 

Youth Voices Afterschool Program

Monday-Friday from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Every Monday through Friday, we host youth programming at our newsroom at 3237 Amber Street from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. The programs are designed for students in grades six through 12, but those in that age range are welcome to bring their younger siblings, too. We’ve got arts and crafts, computer games, multimedia equipment, and more. 

We have sponsored meals from nearby restaurants for three days out of each week:

Youth participants who are interested in creative writing, multimedia production, and visual arts can collaborate with us to publish their work to our website and receive a gift card ranging from $75 to $150 for their contributions. 

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