Neighborhood Dispute Settlement

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General Information

  • Official name: Neighborhood Dispute Settlement
  • Country: USA
  • City: Harrisburg
  • Type of organization: Non-profit organization
  • Date of creation: 1978
  • Interests: Mediation - Training
  • Fields of expertise: Community, Family, Workplaces Disputes


In 1968, concerned citizens formed the Human Relations Council of Greater Harrisburg to respond to the alleged brutality of African American students at John Harris High School. In 1978, the Human Relations Council perceived a need for mediation as an alternative means to address conflict in the community and so started Neighborhood Dispute Settlement as a special project. Community volunteers were trained as mediators and offered their services to anyone in need of mediation. As the community situation changed, Neighborhood Dispute Settlement (NDS) was established as permanent community mediation program.

In 1993, the Harrisburg Bureau of Police implemented a process to make referrals to Neighborhood Dispute Settlement. Police officers refer people in conflict for mediation as an alternative to police citations. In 1994, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency provided a grant to expand the program to other police departments in Dauphin County. NDS received statewide recognition for its success in reducing police service calls dealing with community and neighborhood conflicts along with the associated costs.

In 1995, NDS collaborated with the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, to offer mediation services to the residents of Cumberland County. In 1996, Dickinson School of Law discontinued its mediation clinic. Consequently, NDS obtained funding from Cumberland County and the West Shore Council of Governments to continue its service to Cumberland County. Community mediation through NDS thereby became a regional service that continues today and is shared and funded by municipalities in both Dauphin and Cumberland Counties.

In 1997, NDS received national recognition by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Justice, and the National Association of Counties as an innovative approach in combining elements of restorative justice and community policing.


Neighborhood Dispute Settlement is the only community based mediation center serving Dauphin and Cumberland Counties.

Neighborhood Dispute Settlement’s goal is to promote and provide conflict resolution solutions through training, education and services.

The principal service of Neighborhood Dispute Settlement is to mediate conflicts. Mediation empowers people to resolve their own disagreements by creating a safe, neutral space where individuals can discuss their problems with the assistance of trained impartial mediators, who can guide the discussion toward a genuine win-win solution for all concerned.

Mediation Services

  • Conflicts with a neighbor
  • Family conflicts including custody of children
  • Conflicts between co-workers
  • Disputes between and employer and an employee
  • Issues between landlords and tenants
  • Conflicts between groups in a community
  • Disagreements between merchants and consumers

The mediation services of Neighborhood Dispute Settlement are provided without regard to one’s ability to pay.

Neighborhood Dispute Settlement also offers transformative mediation, group facilitation, conflict resolution/violence prevention education and services, transformative mediation training, community conflict resolution training for police departments and municipalities.

Neighborhood Dispute Settlement’s conflict resolution programs have been endorsed by local police departments and magisterial district justices throughout our service area.


The goal of Neighborhood Dispute Settlement is to help participants resolve disputes to their own satisfaction. Everything they do in their office, programs and mediation revolves around that goal. The mediators for all NDS are impartial neutrals, who are committed to mediating in an honest, open, informed and confidential process. Their job is to give participants an opportunity either to reach agreement on issues that they wish to mediate or to decide that mediation is not the right way for them to resolve the issues. Mediators do not give legal advice or any other advice. Mediators of Neighborhood Dispute Settlement do not fix their clients' problems. Instead they empower the clients to do it for themselves.

Mediators with Neighborhood Dispute Settlement are trained volunteers from the community who provide guidance within a controlled setting where participants can have safe and productive discussions. The mediators help to focus issues that need to be resolved to overcome disagreements and help participants generate ideas to resolve their conflicts.

Mediators are neutral. They do not make judgments or decisions, nor do they give legal advice, or provide psychological counseling.

Training & Education

The primary emphasis of Neighborhood Dispute Settlement’s Program for Training and Education is ongoing training and continuing education. NDS regularly offers opportunities for mediators to update, refine, or acquire new skills through its Education and Training Program. NDS seeks to keep abreast of current trends in the field of mediation as well as the needs of their service area. Whenever there is an area of training or continuing education that can benefit mediators, NDS explores the possibilities of how it may best offer opportunities for professional development. Suggestions for areas of training and education are always welcome.

From time to time, as circumstances allow, NDS will offer Basic Mediation Training that meets the standards of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators (PCM) and takes into account standards set by other professional mediation organizations. NDS is fortunate to have other community mediation centers within easy geographical reach that offer basic mediation training on a regular basis.

Training and education opportunities are available to all NDS members and others interested in taking advantage of NDS offerings. Costs vary according to the nature and format of the offering. NDS members can always register for NDS sponsored trainings at a discount.


315 Peffer Street Harrisburg, PA 17102 - USA

Tel: 717 233-8255

Fax: 717 233-3261


Official Website

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