Philadelphia Advances Strategic Plan to Create 1,500 New Low-Income Apartments

A new housing plan that is expected to create more affordable units in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia was announced recently by the City Council.

A new housing plan that is expected to create more affordable units in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia was announced recently by the City Council.

The “1,500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative” plan calls for 1,000 new affordable rental units and 500 new residential units available for ownership in strategic locations called Opportunity Zones, in an effort to balance Philadelphia’s uneven economic recovery. According to a City Council report, there is a list of more than 110,000 families waiting for PHA housing but only 1,500 units become available each year.

“The affordable housing crisis and growing income inequality are undeniably linked. Right now, Philadelphia has a great opportunity to reverse these negative trends and become a national model for how to strategically deploy public assets in order to promote healthier, more productive communities,” City Council President Darrell L. Clarke said in a statement.

The strategic initiative was designed to generate more than $680 million in economic activity and create over 4,200 jobs. It highlights five primary goals:

-     Use state and federal housing funds to their maximum potential;

-     Revitalize blighted neighborhoods by building affordable rental and ownership units on publicly owned land;

-     Advocate sustainable mixed-income communities by developing affordable rental and ownership units in the city’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods;

-     Convert publicly owned land into taxable properties;

-    Create both construction and construction-related jobs in addition to post-construction jobs in managing and maintaining the affordable rental units.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the monthly mortgage payments for the new ownership units would range between 15 percent and 23 percent of the target buyer’s monthly income. For the rental units the city is expected to set aside $100,000 for each of the 1,000 new affordable rentals in order to subsidize the related operational costs for the next 30 years. This would be possible with the help of a $100 million loan and additional affordable housing subsidies from the Philadelphia Housing Authorities.