Allentown's Weed and Seed Program
Allentown’s Weed and Seed Program: (Download Final Report HERE )
The LVRC contracted with the Weed and Seed Program in Allentown to carry out an evaluation and a needs assessment. Weed and Seed is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as Commonwealth and City funds, targeted on the First Ward and Center City neighborhoods of Allentown. According to the Department of Justice, "The [Weed and Seed] strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" violent criminals and drug abusers and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to "seed" much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs."
The Allentown Weed and Seed program, which has been in existence for over five years, is a coalition of stakeholders who are committed to working cooperatively on the revitalization of the Weed and Seed target area. Its key contributions have been through partnerships with the City, non-profit organizations, and community residents to create and support collaborative efforts in the areas of youth development, housing, employment, public safety, and human services.
The evaluation and needs assessment involves collecting data from many city offices to assess progress made during this time, and interviews with community members, leaders, and officials about their perception of the impact of the program and needs for future programming. A brief survey was mailed to every household in the target area, both in English and Spanish, and over 500 responses are being analyzed to identify strengths and challenges as perceived by residents. Sarah Williams and Elizabeth Eckley, masters students in Sociology at Lehigh University, are carrying out the study, under the direction of Judith Lasker, Lehigh University, and Phyllis Alexander, Weed and Seed Coordinator. Olga Negron of Weed and Seed and Michele Moser Deegan, Muhlenberg College, have also contributed significantly to the project.