Walking down 18th street between Montgomery and Berks streets, I am met with an array of suspicious glances and awkward smiles. This is not because the residents of this block are not friendly, it's because I'm a stranger to a street that has had some of the same residents occupying the homes for over 20 years.
"I've been in this house for 22 years," said Vernon Bar, 55.
The block that has predominantly been occupied by North Philadelphia natives has seen an influx of Temple students, that will soon grow to be even more as the massive construction for off campus housing is completed.
"There used to be a lot of shootings happening before the students came in here, they kinda help keep the peace," Bar said.
According to Temple student Marc Stuart, 21, he doesn't have any problems living on a block that is generally thought of as dangerous and poverty ridden.
"I've never had any problems in the neighborhood; I'm tight with my neighbors so I'm cool. As long as you’re friendly it's fine.” Said Stuart.
As far as Bar is concerned, he doesn't seem to mind the construction or his new Temple neighbors so much, it is really just the lack of jobs for the neighborhood workers.
"All these Mexicans and Union boys are coming in here, not just our neighborhood, but in New York, South Carolina, everywhere and none of us can get no work. But, I don't mind the construction itself because it helps to increase the value of my house," said Bar.
Despite his and many of the neighbor’s backgrounds in the construction and landscaping industry, they are unable to obtain jobs in their own neighborhoods and their frustrations continue to mount while they wait for opportunity and watch their neighborhoods change around them.
Kayla Murphy, Mike Mastrangelo and James Schlucter, Team 22, North Central Philadelphia