Press Releases


City Council Announces Funding Plan For $400 Million Neighborhood Preservation Initiative – Investments In Affordable Housing, Small Businesses And Commercial Corridors

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,
September 16, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA – City Councilmembers and other city officials today joined residents outside a Northwest Philadelphia store to highlight next steps in the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, a $400 Million plan for massive, citywide investments in affordable housing production, home repairs, small business revitalization and neighborhood preservation.

The Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI) was approved in concept by City Council last year, along with financing to pay for it. Today, Council leaders announced next steps for NPI – legislation to be introduced Friday in Council outlining spending in an array of programs that will benefit Philadelphia residents and neighborhoods. Those programs to be supported by NPI include:

  • Affordable Housing Production ($113 Million)
  • Preservation of Affordable Housing ($64.6 Million)
  • Support for First-time Home Buyers ($58 Million)
  • Basic Systems Repairs to Existing Homes ($38 Million)
  • Infrastructure Improvements in Neighborhoods ($26.6 Million)
  • Permanent Housing for Homeless ($15.2 Million)
  • Neighborhood Small Business Support & Revitalization ($15.2 Million)
  • NPI’s four-year budget also includes funding for Shallow Rent Assistance ($15.2 Million), Eviction Prevention ($11.4 Million), and Tangled Title support ($7.6 Million.)

“This is going to be the largest, single investment in Philadelphia neighborhoods in city history,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), who conceived of NPI along with his leadership team on City Council. “For decades, neighborhoods like Juniata Park, West Oak Lane, Wynnefield and others didn’t need much support, as they were relatively stable. But a variety of economic factors have caused decline in our neighborhoods – and they need the city’s help and support. That’s what NPI is designed to do. This will be a much needed shot-in-the-arm for Philly neighborhoods.”

The Council leaders and city officials gathered today outside Gilben’s Bakery and Specialty Sandwich Shop on Stenton Avenue in West Oak Lane. Gilben’s, owned and operated by Crystal Bradley, has received commercial corridor revitalization and support from city commerce officials – exactly the kind of support planned for under NPI.

“Thanks to the city, our storefront and sidewalk are clean and orderly, and our signage is attractive to our customers,” Ms. Bradley said. “It makes them feel comfortable to come and shop here. I’m very glad to hear the city plans to invest in commercial corridor revitalization all across Philadelphia.”

Ms. Bradley was joined at the news conference by Councilmembers Cherelle L. Parker (9th District), Council’s majority leader, and Maria D. Quiñones Sánchez (7th District), Council’s Appropriations Committee chair – two champions on Council of neighborhood economic development.

“We can’t sit by idly and wait for someone to come to our rescue; we must be proactive,” said Majority Leader Parker, whose district includes the Gilben’s sandwich shop. “NPI will spend close to a half billion dollars that will impact the lives of our most vulnerable residents who have been hurt most directly by the coronavirus. It will help those in poverty, prevent those living on the margins from falling further behind, create sustainable jobs and assist small businesses – which need help the most right now.”

“City Council has developed a better New Normal and will aggressively invest in neighborhoods and our residents to ensure real inclusion and equity in our recovery and our growth,” said Quiñones Sánchez. “The Census data highlighted what Council has always understood — neighborhood development is key to ensuring diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods and a better, more equitable Philadelphia.”

Also at today’s news conference were Maria N. Gonzalez, President of HACE, a community economic development organization, David S. Thomas, CEO of Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, and other community leaders and residents.

“Philadelphia has a large portion of homeowners, many of which live in older homes,” said David Thomas of PHDC. “PHDC’s Basic System Repair Program and Adaptive Modification Program (AMP) are vital in keeping persons in their homes. NPI funding will be instrumental in helping thousands of homeowners in Philadelphia make necessary improvements and modifications to their home, preventing homelessness and unwanted moving expenses.”

Other city programs to be funded by NPI include initiatives that help with eviction diversion, rental assistance, first-time home buyers, and affordable housing development and preservation, and the city’s top planning official spoke on how important NPI will be to these critical efforts to help Philadelphians.

“The City’s Eviction Diversion Program, Rental Assistance, Philly First Home and other affordable housing and community development programs are in great need of additional funding,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of the City’s Department of Planning and Development. “The NPI funding will help us save more persons from eviction, help people realize the dream of homeownership, and get funding to developers that want to build affordable housing. This is an important initiative, and I am looking forward to getting this funding out the door to improve the lives of Philadelphia residents.”

The funding mechanisms for NPI include several city bond issuances, which in turn will be paid back from a 1 percent Development Impact Tax on residential construction approved by Council and Mayor Kenney last year, and a reduction in the real estate tax abatement for commercial construction by 10 percent.

The NPI program is also expected to catalyze a larger burst of economic activity — $2.5 billion-worth – and produce $71 Million in new tax revenues over the first 4 years. It is estimated that it will support over 14,700 jobs with $765 Million in wages.

400m chart

CITY & PHDC ANNOUNCE MINORITY DEVELOPER PROGRAM: Creating Opportunities for Minority Developers to Expand & Grow

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,
August 25,2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The City of Philadelphia and PHDC are announcing a new pilot program to assist in addressing the lack of diversity in the Philadelphia real estate development and construction industry, PHDC’s Minority Developer Program (MDP).

“Minority developers and contractors in Philadelphia have been underrepresented for far too long,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As we equitably recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic toll, the Minority Developer Program (MDP) will allow us to expand more opportunities to small developers and create jobs while supporting an inclusive construction workforce.”

MDP is a hands-on, business assistance program for small developers and contractors in Philadelphia. The program is designed to promote wealth creation and business growth among minority developers.

MDP will provide technical assistance, as well as leverage public land and funding to create opportunities for minority developers to obtain contracts for real estate development projects.

MDP’s goal is for developers to gain experience, improve balance sheets, and create mentorship opportunities with larger scale developers in the City. Developers must apply for this program.

“If you are you a minority developer working in the City of Philadelphia who wants to take on larger projects, we are looking for you and want you to apply,” said David Thomas, CEO, PHDC. “The technical assistance, development opportunities and training on how to access publicly owned land is an immeasurable benefit. I also believe that the mentor relationships for participants with larger developers is another great asset to the program that we believe will be very helpful for participants.”

“One of the benefits of the MDP is the selected developers will be able to bid on projects that will put some of the long-term vacant city-owned parcels back into productive use,” said Angel Rodriquez, Senior Vice President of Land Services, PHDC/Executive Director, Philadelphia Land Bank. “This type of development helps expand the City’s priority of additional affordable housing and other projects that provide a community benefit, while providing a door to build capacity of smaller minority development firms.”

“City Council strongly supports more minority participation in real estate development in Philadelphia, including this city program to provide more technical assistance to minority developers,” said Philadelphia City Council President, Councilmember Darrell Clarke, 5th District. “Council’s Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, a $400 million citywide investment, will similarly strongly support and encourage jobs and economic opportunities for workers of color as NPI moves forward this year and beyond.”

The RFQ is available until September 30, 2021, and must be completed and submitted in its entirety by that date.

Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Local and Legislative Leaders Urge Pennsylvanians to Apply for Rental Assistance Ahead of Federal Eviction Moratorium Expiring

July 28, 2021

Philadelphia, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today joined Mayor Jim Kenney, Senator Anthony H. Williams, Representative Jordan Harris, and Gregory Heller, senior vice president at Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, to discuss the upcoming end of the federal eviction moratorium and urge Pennsylvanians at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs because of COVID-19 to apply for assistance available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s federal moratorium on evictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic will end after July 31, 2021.

ERAP can help people who are facing eviction pay past due and upcoming rent or pay utility bills or other costs necessary to help them be safely housed. Pennsylvanians experiencing housing instability or at risk of eviction are strongly urged to begin their ERAP application as soon as possible and not wait until the eviction moratorium ends.

“For nearly 18 months, Pennsylvania and the nation have endured the instability, anxiety, and dangers of a global pandemic. The federal moratorium on evictions was a reprieve to keep people safe and housed through the worst of these public health and economic crises, but we must act now and use this historic investment available through ERAP to prevent avoidable evictions and housing insecurity,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “A safe, stable place to call home is foundational to good health and overall well-being, and it is essential as we continue to get our communities back on track and recover from this crisis. If you or your tenants are behind on rent or having trouble paying utility bills, start your ERAP application now and let this program help you stabilize and move forward.”

“The City is grateful to Governor Wolf, the PA General Assembly, and DHS for this funding that is helping thousands of Philadelphia families stay in their homes, avoid eviction, and prevent homelessness,” said Gregory Heller, “The availability of this funding allowed us to build a robust delivery system in Philadelphia and across the Commonwealth to distribute aid to tenants. We owe it to Pennsylvania’s families to distribute the ERAP funds as quickly as possible, while also building long-term solutions to combat housing instability and ensure that evictions become the route of last resort.”

The Wolf Administration established the ERAP in partnership with the General Assembly through Act 1 of 2021 to distribute $569 million to Pennsylvania households through partnerships with local leaders. An additional $278 million in rental assistance was directly allocated to Pennsylvania’s largest counties by the federal government, making a total of $847 million available to support renters and landlords feeling the strain of this economic insecurity across Pennsylvania. Counties are reporting data on the Act 1 distribution of funds monthly to DHS that are available online here. Counties and localities that received a direct allocation report on this funding to the United States Treasury, which is reporting data here. In total, $133 million has been distributed to more than 30,500 households in Pennsylvania as of June 30, 2021.

Funding for ERAP comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and further rental assistance funds included in the American Rescue Plan Act were appropriated in Act 24 of 2021 signed earlier this month by Governor Wolf. These resources will be available to support renters soon.

Households may be eligible for up to 18 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and/or utility payments. The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not preclude eligibility, but the amount of ERAP assistance provided to a household is determined by program administrators at the county level. Assistance can be provided to a tenant for future rental payments, and for unpaid rental or utility arrears that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020 on a residential rental property. Counties may choose to provide additional assistance to eligible households if funds remain available.

Either tenants or landlords can apply for this assistance, but a tenant does not need a landlord’s permission to apply and use this assistance. This program is an opportunity to help ease circumstances for both parties, so landlords and tenants are strongly encouraged to work cooperatively to secure this stabilizing assistance. ERAP is overseen by DHS at the state level but administered locally by county and municipal partners. Pennsylvanians can learn how to apply in their county of residence online at

To qualify for assistance, a household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property and meet each of the following criteria:

  • One or more people within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic; AND
  • One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
  • The household has an income at or below 80 percent of area median income, which varies by county. Income limits by county are available on the DHS website. Resources (like bank accounts and cars) are not relevant to ERAP eligibility.

Applicants will need to provide the following information: head of household’s personal information; income information for all household members 18 and older; rental lease and amount owed; landlord’s name and contact information. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide utility expenses and utility provider information.

For more information on ERAP, promotional materials, state allocation program data, and to learn how to apply, visit

NOTE: Video bytes of Acting Secretary Snead are available for use in coverage of ERAP and are available to download here.


Neighborhoods in the Middle: ULI Philadelphia Report Addresses Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

Small Landlords are a Necessary Piece of the Affordable Housing Puzzle in Philadelphia

May 20, 2021
Contact: Jamila Davis

For more than a decade, the City of Philadelphia has enjoyed an increasing population and a strong housing market. While an asset to the city’s economic health, this uptick puts pressure on affordable housing stock, encouraging property owners to increase rents or convert affordable units to market-rate units.

Naturally occurring affordable housing, or NOAH, is unsubsidized privately owned rental housing. With approximately 76,000 of these properties in Philadelphia, NOAH is most common in middle-market neighborhoods. Approximately 50% of the City’s NOAH properties are vulnerable due to poor condition, displacement risk or strong market value, and in need of intervention.

Through a research and policy partnership between Philadelphia’s Division of Housing Development Corporation (DHCD), ULI Philadelphia, and the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing, Preserving Philadelphia’s Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing, a new National Study Visit report, was released today to address at-risk rental units in the city’s middle neighborhoods.

To convene the panel, ULI turned to its members for local and national affordable housing experts. In place of traveling to Philadelphia during the pandemic, the City supplied the panel with a rich set of briefing materials, maps, and a virtual tour to provide a deeper dive into Kensington, Oxford Circle and Wynnefield, three Philadelphia neighborhoods that feature a significant portion of the City’s NOAH stock. The panel also conducted interviews with over 30 local stakeholders.

Highlights of the report:

  • Quality naturally occurring affordable housing is at risk in Philadelphia.
  • Much of the city’s NOAH inventory, e.g. small multi-family structures and singlefamily rowhouses, are owned by landlords with five properties or fewer.
  • Classifying landlords as small business owners opens up new support and partnership opportunities.
  • The City of Philadelphia is working to financially support landlords in their pursuit of repairs to affordable units.
  • Partnerships with utilities and health care providers could potentially provide new avenues of outreach and funding.

“Philadelphia is on a strong path toward preserving its NOAH stock. The report is a blueprint not only for the city, but as a national model to improve and expand relationships with NOAH landlords. This report points to a sustainable path toward broader housing affordability throughout the City of Philadelphia,” said Laura Slutsky, Executive Director, ULI Philadelphia.

Building on findings of Philadelphia’s 2018 Housing Action Plan, Housing for Equity: An Action Plan for Philadelphia, the NOAH report leveraged data collection, capacity-building, and financing and subsidy mechanisms to identify action items that the City has initiated to help preserve NOAH.

“This report provides data to show just how critical small landlords are in providing affordable housing,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of the City’s Department of Planning and Development. “A key takeaway is that we need to provide the same level of support for small landlords that we provide for other types of businesses, while also aiding tenants and working to prevent evictions. We are investing in our programs for small landlords, while building new approaches and partnerships – internally and externally; public and private – based on the data provided in this report. We are grateful to ULI Philadelphia and Stepwise Analytics for their partnership in this project.”

The report recommends that the City increase and further target its focus, tools, and attention on neighborhoods on the cusp of, but not yet experiencing, markets where affordable housing options are nonexistent. By prioritizing these neighborhoods, the City will get ahead of upward market pressures and can work with landlords before those pressures become too great to maintain affordability.

The national report panel participants are:

  • Mike Pitchford (Chair), Former President & CEO, Community Preservation and Development Corporation, Washington, DC
  • Karen Blanchard, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, SITIO architecture + urbanism, Philadelphia, PA
  • Rodger Brown, Managing Director, Real Estate Development, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc,. Boston, MA
  • Jim Burnett, Executive Director, West Philadelphia Financial Skills Initiative, Philadelphia, PA
  • Anne Segrest Mcculloch, President & CEO, Housing Partnership Equity Trust, Washington, DC
  • Tracey Nguyen, Principal, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, Philadelphia, PA
  • Philip Payne, Chair, Lotus Campaign, Charlotte, NC
  • Jonathan Weiss, President, Equinox Property Group, Philadelphia, PA

Stakeholder participants:

  • AmeriHealth
  • Cecil Baker & Partners
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • City of Philadelphia Department of Planning & Development
  • City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspection
  • Community First Fund
  • Community Legal Services
  • Community Preservation Corporation
  • Drexel Urban Health
  • Econsult Solutions
  • Esperanza
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  • Frankel Enterprises
  • Frankford CDC
  • Green Building United
  • Impact Services
  • Jumpstart
  • LISC Philadelphia
  • Mdesigns
  • Philadelphia Energy Authority
  • Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation
  • Philadelphia Tenants Union
  • PNC Bank
  • PolicyMap
  • Public Interest Law Center
  • Reinvestment Fund
  • Rigby Housing
  • Shift Capital
  • Tenant Union Representative Network
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • University of Pennsylvania

About ULI Philadelphia

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute whose mission is to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide. Established in 1936, ULI today has more than 45,000 members around the world representing the entire spectrum of land-use and development disciplines including developers, builders, property owners, investors, architects, public officials, planners, attorneys, engineers, academics and others engaged in the land-use field. The Philadelphia District Council encompasses about 900 members throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the southern half of New Jersey. For more information, visit


PHDC and Civetta Property Group Virtual Ribbon-Cutting for 19 Units of Affordable Workforce Housing

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,

PHILADELPHIA, PA-April 30, 2021
Today PHDC and Civetta Property Group hosted a virtual ribbon-cutting to celebrate 19 new units of workforce housing in the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia.

The Workforce Housing (“WFH”) Program is a City initiative that promotes the development of housing for middle-income households (between 80% to 120% of Area Median Income). Costs for these units varied between $185,000-$250,000.

“The workforce housing programs give our working-class residents who want to live in neighborhoods that are increasing in cost the chance to buy a house in those communities,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “From side yards, community garden, business expansion to affordable housing, PHDC, the City’s community development arm, is putting vacant lots like these back into productive use.”

PHDC provided the land for these units.

“I am very pleased to be part of this virtual ribbon-cutting with PHDC and Civetta Group,” said Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (Second District). “Even during a challenging pandemic, it is helpful to pause to celebrate the brand new 19 units of workforce housing that has been developed in my district.  It is my pleasure to welcome these 19 new homeowners to the community. I will continue to work hard to provide workforce and affordable housing to current and future residents of South Philadelphia and make it a part of the city desirable by all Philadelphians-at any income level.”

These homes feature brick fronts, single hung windows, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, luxury flooring, carpeted stairs, halls and bedrooms, and many more amenities for the homebuyers. These homes are also part of a 10-year tax abatement.

Civetta Property Group is proud to have completed another workforce housing project, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia,” said Brennan Tomasetti, Civetta Property Group. “As business owners who live and work in Philadelphia, we are committed to being a part of the affordable housing solution. An equitable housing environment results in better community living for all citizens.”

“I commend Civetta Group and PHDC for providing workforce housing in a growing neighborhood and for helping Philadelphia expand its efforts to create more affordable housing opportunities,” said Councilmember At-Large Allan Domb. “We need to utilize every resource available and work with our public-and-private partners to deliver housing that is beautiful and affordable in our appreciating neighborhoods. This kind of collaborative approach makes a significant investment in communities that are most in need, while providing families with a pathway to homeownership.”

Property Addresses:

  1. 2643 Reed St.
  2. 2641 Reed St.
  3. 2639 Reed St.
  4. 2614 Sears St.
  5. 2630 Sears St.
  6. 2616 Earp St.
  7. 2642 Sears St.
  8. 2714 Earp St.
  9. 2719 Earp St.
  10. 2701 Earp St.
  11. 1327 S 27th St.
  12. 2703 Earp St.
  13. 2724 Earp St.
  14. 2735 Earp St.
  15. 2613 Earp St.
  16. 2648 Sears St.
  17. 2727 Earp St.
  18. 2700 Sears St.
  19. 2626 Sears St.

For a virtual tour of one of the units, click here.

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WinnCompanies Acquires Philadelphia’s Historic Carl Mackley Houses; Begins Work on a $23.7 Million Renovation of the 184-Unit Complex

Sponsored by Unions in 1935, It Was the Nation’s 1st Federally Funded Housing Community

Media Contacts:
Ed Cafasso, WINNCompanies,, (617) 455-9651
Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,

BOSTON (April 26, 2021) – Multi-family industry leader WinnCompanies announced today it has acquired Carl Mackley Houses, built in the Great Depression as the nation’s first federally funded housing complex, and has started a $23.7 million project to completely renovate the historic 184-unit affordable housing community in northeast Philadelphia.

The rehabilitation effort will modernize apartment kitchens and bathrooms in four residential buildings; install central air conditioning in all units; replace all windows and roofs; upgrade common areas; and renovate 19 apartments to make them fully accessible for persons with mobility impairments, while adapting eight units for use by people with sensory impairments.

“Carl Mackley Houses was born from a collective effort by labor unions and government to create desperately needed housing for working people. Eighty-six years later, the need for quality affordable housing is just as great, if not greater,” said WinnDevelopment President and Managing Partner Larry Curtis. “We’re proud to have the opportunity to lead a modern public-private partnership that is restoring and improving this historic housing community and guaranteeing it remains affordable for the next 40 years.”

The housing complex first opened in 1935 as single-family apartments for union workers. Sponsored by the American Federation of Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers, it was the first housing project financed by the Housing Division of the Public Works Administration, a federal agency that later became the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a centerpiece of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.

“The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), in conjunction with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), are thrilled to provide gap financing for this important project, preserving 184 affordable housing units for the community,” said Gregory Heller, senior vice president of community investment for PHDC. “The Carl Mackley Apartments represented a groundbreaking new approach to worker housing when they were constructed in 1935. We appreciate WinnCompanies’ leadership and partnership to renovate these historic buildings and ensure that they can continue as affordable housing for a long time.”

After pursuing the complex purchase for two and a half years, WinnCompanies acquired the property on January 29 and secured the financing needed for rehabilitation on April 1 with the support of an array of public and private partners, including the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, which partially subsidizes rents and insures the permanent mortgage for the complex, and U.S. National Park Service, which oversees the Federal Historic Tax Credit program.

The project is being financed by tax-exempt bond financing and an allocation of 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA); a U.S. Federal Housing Administration permanent mortgage loan from Merchants Capital Corporation; an investment in the permanent mortgage by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (AFL-CIO HIT); subordinate acquisition and construction loan financing from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) and PHDC; equity investment in LIHTC and Federal and State Historic Tax Credits by the Richman Group; equity bridge loan financing from TD Bank; and, energy efficiency rebates from the Philadelphia Gas Work (PGW) EnergySense Program.

“The pandemic has underscored that demand remains high for affordable housing, like that provided by Carl Mackley Houses,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “We appreciate WinnCompanies stepping up to modernize these buildings that offer 184 units of much-needed housing in northeast Philadelphia. We’re glad that funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency could help make it possible.”

The renovation work will be performed by union labor. The complex was named for Carl Mackley, a 22-year-old union worker who was shot and killed on March 6,1930 while supporting a strike at the H.C. Aberle Company. The complex earned a spot on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 1982 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

“The preservation of affordable housing is a fundamental priority as we build back our nation’s infrastructure. The Labor Movement supports housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households,” said AFL-CIO HIT CEO Chang Suh. “HIT’s financing for Carl Mackley reflects our continuing commitment to help provide housing for working families and good jobs for union members.”

Spanning an entire city block, Carl Mackley Houses is comprised of four three-story buildings with a range of one-, two-, three and four-bedroom apartments, along with a separate community building with space for resident programming and services. Three quarters of the units (139) offer two or more bedrooms – a critical housing resource as Philadelphia’s supply of affordable family‐sized apartments dwindles. Current residents comprise a diverse mix of household types, including families, disabled individuals and seniors.

“The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation is proud to partner with WinnCompanies on the redevelopment of Carl Mackley Houses. We have been involved in the preservation of Carl Mackley Houses for more than 20 years, and we are honored to support WinnCompanies as they modernize and preserve this important affordable housing community,” said Richman Group Assistant Vice President Aaron Wolfe. “Thanks to WinnCompanies and significant funding from a committed group of public and private partners, the 184 units at Carl Mackley Houses will continue to provide attractive, safe and affordable housing in the community for years to come.”

The top-to-bottom renovation will include the restoration and stabilization of the historic brick facades of the buildings and the installation of modern energy conservation systems to reduce utility consumption and promote resident comfort. Sidewalks and walking paths will be improved, and efforts will be made to address erosion and drainage issues.

“Closing a HUD 221d4 loan for Carl Mackley Houses, in addition to providing an interim bridge loan to help acquire the property, was a tremendous success for Merchants Capital,” said Marsha Goff, executive vice president of Merchants Capital’s St. Paul, Minnesota office. “It’s an honor to have provided the financing for the nation’s first federally funded housing development, as access to safe, affordable housing remains a necessity for many Americans to this day. We at Merchants are proud to have partnered on such a meaningful project for Philadelphia.”

In addition to expanding the on-site management offices to create a computer lab for residents, the construction will create an office for a full-time, bilingual community coordinator who will work to connect Carl Mackley residents to services and resources that promote sustainable, positive outcomes for the community.

Working with a network of more than 100 Philadelphia service providers and partners, residents will have direct access to a range of community-based programs and services as part of WinnCompanies’ Connected Communities program. Because of its commitment to impact, WinnCompanies’ was the first for-profit affordable housing development and management organization in the U.S. to earn the Certified Organization for Resident Engagement & Services (CORES) certification from Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future and Fannie Mae for Connected Communities’ “robust commitment, capacity and competency in providing outcomes-focused resident services in affordable rental housing.”

Carl Mackley Houses will be the first multifamily community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to launch the HUD Family Self-Sufficiency Program. On March 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved an innovative plan put forth by WinnCompanies, Compass Working Capital and the Carl Mackley community to support individuals and families in building assets and financial capability as a pathway to greater economic opportunity and out of poverty.

“The City of Philadelphia has been an instrumental partner in this effort, playing a key role in helping us navigate the approvals needed to get work underway,” said WinnDevelopment Vice President Aimee McHale. “We look forward to celebrating the ribbon-cutting at the refurbished community in the fall of 2022.”

WinnDevelopment, the development arm of WinnCompanies, will lead the 18-month renovation with Domus, Inc., serving as general contractor and Kramer + Marks Architects, PC, serving as architect.

“This project was an excellent opportunity for TD to work with a leader in the affordable housing space,” said Gregg Gerken, Head of Commercial Real Estate for TD Bank. “Through our financing work and community programs like Housing for Everyone, we strive to create sustainable affordable housing in the communities where we live and work from Maine to Florida. This is especially important in the face of the pandemic.”

More than 320 residents currently live at Carl Mackley Houses. All apartments are subsidized under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and half fall under the Section 8 program. During the phased renovation, residents will be temporarily relocated while work on their apartments is completed. WinnResidential, the property management arm of WinnCompanies, is now operating the community.

Carl Mackley Houses was partially rehabilitated in 1997 but had fallen into disrepair in recent years, raising concerns about its long-term viability due to a lack of capital investments, inadequate security systems and poor energy efficiency.

In addition to Carl Mackley Houses, WinnCompanies owns and operates three other apartment properties in Philadelphia: Venango House, a 106-unit elderly property; Cobbs Creek, an 85-unit affordable family property; and Breslyn House, a historic 60-unit affordable housing community.

About WinnCompanies
WinnCompanies is an award-winning national developer and manager of high-impact affordable, middle income, mixed-income and market rate housing communities. Founded in Boston in 1971 and supported by 3,670 team members in 23 states and the District of Columbia, WinnResidential, the company’s property management arm, is one of the nation’s leading multi-family housing managers with 105,000 units under management. It is the largest manager of affordable housing in the United States and a leading manager of privatized U.S. military housing. Through the efforts of WinnDevelopment, its development arm, WinnCompanies owns apartment communities in 10 states and the District of Columbia.


City Announces Phase 4 of COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,

PHILADELPHIA, PA-April 5, 2021-Today the City of Philadelphia announces

PHLRentAssist Phase 4-the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program is now open to landlords and tenants.

Phase 4 of the program helps people pay their rent and utilities who have experienced financial hardship because of COVID-19. Previous phases did not include utilities, only rent. PHDC, the City’s housing and community development non-profit, will continue to administer this program. Landlords and tenants can apply until funds run out.

“We know that tens of thousands of our city’s tenants and landlords are suffering because of COVID-19, and we are doing everything we can to help,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Since May, the City of Philadelphia has put over $65 million into the hands of landlords and tenants to help more than 14,000 households. With this new funding we can help even more families stay in their homes, and even more landlords to afford to pay their bills. We are excited to be able to offer assistance with overdue utility bills in this round, and for our utility partners in getting the word out about this program. Help is on the way and we will get through this together!”

This new round of funding for Philadelphia includes about $97 million from the federal legislation that passed in December 2020, with more funding coming from the American Rescue Plan which was enacted in March, although the amount of those additional funds is not yet known. The City and PHDC estimate that this funding will be able to help between 15,000-20,000 tenants with their rent and utilities.

“We kept the water on for more than 70,000 customers who were unable to pay their bill during this crisis, and these grants are essential to getting those customers back on track before penalties resume on May 1,” says Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman Esq. “Eligible customers who have had growing water bill debts should apply now so they can make a payment to pay off their debt. This revenue is needed for critical infrastructure maintenance and investment.”

Eligible tenants and landlords can apply for up to 18 months of rent and/or utility assistance, with a maximum of $2,000 per month in rent assistance, and up to $2,000 each for overdue water, gas, or electric bills. Rent assistance can pay for back rent owed after April 2020, and for up to three months of forward rent.

“Throughout this difficult period, all Philadelphians have pulled together to help our neighbors who’ve been most impacted by the pandemic,” said Craig White, President and CEO of Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). “PGW understands that many of our customers and neighbors continue to experience economic difficulties and need additional assistance with paying their bills. We thank the City and PHDC for responding to that need by expanding the Rental Assistance Program to help Philadelphians maintain their natural gas service.”

“We understand the economic toll the pandemic has created and that financial hardships are a reality for many of our customers,” said Mike Innocenzo, PECO president and CEO. “We commend City officials for expanding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and we believe this new resource, combined with PECO’s various payment options and assistance programs, will provide the support our customers need to maintain their energy services to transition through this difficult time.”

Tenants who received assistance in prior phases of Philadelphia’s rental assistance program can apply for Phase 4; however not for the months where they have received assistance from previous phases or from any other rent assistance program. If a landlord applies on behalf of a tenant, they need written consent from the tenant and the tenant must be eligible.

If an individual or company wish to help Philadelphians in need, there is a way to donate to help tenants stay in their homes. All donations are fully tax exempt. So far, the City has raised over $100,000 by generous Philadelphians and neighbors.

PHLRentAssist Tenant Information:

  • Tenants must rent an apartment or house in the City of Philadelphia. For tenants outside of Philadelphia, please refer to the list of county contacts on the State’s website.
  • Tenant must have a household income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) (see Income Guidelines table below.). Tenants who have a household income under 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) or who were unemployed for more than 90 days receive preference.
  • Tenant must qualify for unemployment benefits; or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced some other financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Tenant must demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Tenants can meet this criteria if they have any past-due rent, past due utilities, received an eviction notice, or paying over one third of their household income on rent.
  • Tenants may need to submit supporting documents to demonstrate their income.

PHLRentAssist Landlord Information:

  • Payment must be applied towards the approved tenant’s rent for months after April 2020.
  • Landlord may not begin any eviction proceedings for 90 days from the last month in which the landlord received assistance from this program.
  • Payments for rent will go to landlords, but if a landlord refuses the funds or does not respond, then payments can go directly to tenants. Payments for utilities will go directly to the utility companies.
  • Landlords will need documents that show they own the property if their name is different from what is on the deed.
  • Property managers will need a document showing that they have authority to make decisions and accept payment for the property owner.

Phase 4 General Information:

  • Rent assistance can be provided for up to 18 months total, including back rent and forward rent. However, no more than 3 months of forward rent can be provided at one time. Tenants who receive 3 months of forward rent and have not exceeded the 18 months of total assistance, may reapply for another 3 months of forward rent.
  • Applicants with rent arrears must satisfy at least one month of those arrears before applying for forward rent.
  • Assistance may only be provided for months of rent after April 2020.
    The total amount of rent assistance cannot exceed $2,000 per month, and that amount may include late fees or other charges passed on by the landlord.
  • Utility payments can be provided for up to 18 months total.
  • Utility payments must have been accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
  • Utility payments can only be for the current month and past due utility payments (assistance is not available for future months’ utility bills).
  • Utility assistance can provide up to $2,000 for PGW (gas), $2,000 for Philadelphia Water Department, and $2,000 for PECO (electric).
  • Utility payments will go directly to the utility providers. If landlords pass on utility costs to their tenants, assistance for those costs may be included in the rent section.
  • All payments will be by electronic ACH payment. For persons with no bank account, payments can be made to some payment apps or to prepaid debit cards that support ACH.

For more information and for ways for tenants to apply, please visit the PHLRentAssist website. Tenants can call 311 for questions.

PHDC Announces First Round of ART IS ESSENTIAL Awardees

CONTACT: Jamila Davis, 

PHILADELPHIA, PA-March 1, 2021
Today PHDC, through PRA’s Fund for Art and Civic Engagement, with support from the Knight Foundation, announced the first group of awardees from the ART IS ESSENTIAL initiative to advance to Round 2 of the program.

This program, made possible with $150,000 of public funds and $150,000 from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supports local artists who are interested in re-imagining community-based public art in Philadelphia. ART IS ESSENTIAL is a first of its kind, multi-rounded program designed to create high-quality, artist-driven and community-informed public art. Local artists from across Philadelphia will reimagine how we engage with each other and our communities.

“We hoped ART IS ESSENTIAL could empower local artists and give voice to anyone who wanted to speak,” said Greg Heller, Senior Vice President of Community Investment, PHDC. “I was so moved when I read and viewed these winning submissions! What beautiful and powerful ideas for rediscovering our communities and ourselves through art. Whether it’s understanding people with disabilities, bringing attention to our gun violence crisis, or celebrating our neighbors, these ideas provide important new avenues to learn from each other and build stronger communities. Congratulations to all of these artists, and we look forward to helping make some of these projects become reality!”

PHDC has selected 45 artists to receive awards of $1,000 each.  All artist​s from this group are eligible to further develop their ideas for additional funding in Round 2: IMPACT.

The artists selected are:

  • Alexandra Espinoza
  • Ana Mosquera
  • Anna Drozdowski
  • Annie Liontas
  • Annie Wilson
  • Bill Green
  • Carolyn Chernoff
  • Chantal Vorobei Thieves
  • Christina Maria Castro-Tauser
  • Danielle Brief
  • Deanna Mclaughlin
  • Donna Oblongata
  • Emily Bate
  • Heather Raquel Phillips
  • Helen Maurene Cooper
  • Jacob C Hammes
  • JJ Tiziou
  • Jungwoong Kim
  • Kaitlin Pomerantz and Sean O’Rourke
  • Karen Smith
  • Katherine Elisabeth Clark
  • Kelly McQuain
  • Kevin Cook
  • Kristal Sotomayor
  • Lane Savadove
  • Li Sumpter
  • Linda Fernandez
  • Magda
  • Mama Carla
  • Maria Möller
  • Mat Tomezsko
  • Mehgan Rose Abdel-Moneim
  • Michelle Angela Ortiz
  • Nina Elizabeth “Lyrispect” Ball
  • Nottene
  • Owen Lyman-Schmidt
  • Sam Tower
  • Samantha M Connors
  • Sarah Peoples and Emily Erb
  • Sheila Zagar
  • Shizu Homma
  • Team Sunshine Performance Corporation
  • Theresa Rose
  • Tieshka K Smith
  • Yolonda Johnson-Young

Artists selected for Round 1 can apply to Round 2: IMPACT. Application criteria was provided to each artist. The deadline for Round 2: IMPACT is Wednesday, April 14, 2021.  Once responses from Round 2 are received and reviewed, 10 awardees will be selected to continue to the final round, Round 3. Round 3 awardees will receive the necessary funds to fully develop their proposed project. Artist advancing to Round 3 will be announced in early summer 2021.

Full program details and more information about awarded artists is available at ART IS


ART IS ESSENTIAL is a first of its kind, multi-round program designed to create high-quality, artist-driven and community-informed public art. Artists from across Philadelphia will reimagine how we engage with each other and our communities. This program, made possible with $150,000 of public funds and $150,000 from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supports local artists who are interested in expanding public art in Philadelphia. Full program details can be found at ART IS

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

About PHDC

PHDC is Philadelphia’s full-service community development organization. From home repair to financing affordable housing, PHDC preserves and develops housing. PHDC also helps residents, community groups, businesses and developers repurpose vacant land. Each initiative supports amenities that make Philadelphia neighborhoods great places to live.


City Announces Additional $30M in Funding for Phase 3 of Rental Assistance & Small Business Relief

Brings the City’s direct support for small businesses to $38.7 million and for rental assistance to $39.4 million since start of the pandemic

CONTACT: Jamila Davis, 

November 20, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – The Kenney Administration and Philadelphia City Council today announced a new commitment of $30 million dollars in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to aid renters and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) that the City received from the U.S. Treasury. The CARES Act authorized payment of these funds to states, local governments with populations of 500,000 or more, and tribal governments. Since May 2020, the City has utilized federal, state, and local funding to assist thousands of tenants and small businesses.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect everyday life, we recognize that some of our most vulnerable communities need more help to pay rent in order to stay in their homes and our small businesses need continued support to survive,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “That’s why this additional relief will be deployed as quickly as possible to prevent evictions and business closures, and to protect jobs.”

“This additional $30 million is essential to help small businesses and renters struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said City Council President Darrell Clarke. “We need to do everything in our collective power to help keep businesses open, employees working, and renters and residents safe in their apartments and homes. This added funding is welcome news.”

This latest allocation of funds brings the City’s direct support for small business assistance to $38.7 million and for rent relief to $39.4 million. When combined with other state and philanthropic funding sources, small businesses and nonprofits in Philadelphia will have received over $100 million in support and nearly $68 million has been spent or committed for helping Philadelphia renters.

Rental Assistance
Federal CARES Act funding allowed the City to provide two phases of rental assistance to help tenants and landlords impacted by the pandemic-creating PHLRentAssist. Nearly 13,000 Philadelphians applied for Phase 1 rental assistance, which is serving 4,000 households with up to $2,500 in aid. Phase 2 rental assistance was made possible by Pennsylvania’s PA-CARES Rent Relief Program, which allows the City to serve over 10,000 additional households.

Of the additional $30 million announced today, $20 million is committed to providing rental assistance for tenants who were eligible and applied for PHLRentAssist Phase 2, but their landlord did not respond. These tenants will now be able to receive a one-time payment. This payment is the tenant’s rent amount (not to exceed $1,500 per month) for up to six months of assistance; maximum total assistance is $9,000. This new funding will help the City serve an estimated additional 4,000 households that are in need and facing housing insecurity.

“Direct rental assistance is critical to ensuring public health and housing security for thousands of Philadelphians,” said City Councilmember Maria Quinones Sanchez. “I am particularly encouraged that City Council, the Administration, and the Courts collaborated with renters and property owners to simplify this program. I look forward to continued public-private partnership as we chart a New Normal.”

“We’re proud that we’ve been able to serve thousands of tenants and landlords through our rent assistance programs. But thousands of other tenants could not get help because of the requirement that their landlord also apply,” said Greg Heller, Senior Vice President of Community Investment at PHDC. “We do not want landlords’ lack of response or participation to prevent these families from getting the help they need to keep a roof over their heads.”

Small Business Relief
Of the $30 million, $10 million is committed to providing small business relief through the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. This new funding will be used to provide grants for some of the Philadelphia-based applicants who remained unfunded after the second round of grants announced by the Commonwealth. This $10 million is in addition to the $20 million that was committed to the Commonwealth’s business relief program in September, which will also fund some Philadelphia businesses who were unfunded after the second round of grants from the program. This funding—$30 million dollars in total including the commitment the City made in September—is expected to provide relief to an additional 1,500 businesses in the city.

“Philadelphia’s small businesses are crucial to the health and well-being of our communities, providing tens of thousands of jobs for residents, along with countless goods and services,” said Sylvie Gallier Howard, Acting Commerce Director for the City of Philadelphia. “We’re proud to commit more funding to provide much needed relief to small businesses that have been struggling during the pandemic.”

Instead of launching a new program and application process, the Department of Commerce opted to provide additional resources to the existing statewide program coordinated by the PA Community Development Finance Institution Network because there was significant unmet need from the applications to the state program and this approach distributed the money more quickly. The CRF money will be used to make additional grants specifically to the most-impacted Philadelphia-based businesses—with a focus on those in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods.

This funding for business relief is in addition to the more than $13.3 million the City already distributed to more than 2,000 small businesses earlier this year through the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, administered by the Department of Commerce and PIDC. Even with these various rounds of financial assistance, local small businesses are still in overwhelming need of more support—estimated at more than $300 million. The City will continue to advocate for the state and federal governments to match the level of local investment being made and to provide more flexible funding to help meet the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.


PHDC needs more licensed and insured contractors that want to make a difference  .

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,
October 6, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA-Today PHDC announced the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for additional contractors for the home improvement programs-Basic System Repair Program (BSRP) and Adaptive Modification Program (AMP).

PHDC’s home improvement programs use small contractors to make much-needed emergency home repairs for income-qualified Philadelphians. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) provides interested contractors with the information required to prepare and submit qualifications in order to participate.

“PHDC has been helping the most vulnerable residents in Philadelphia retain their homes by providing emergency home repairs for the last 40 years,” said David Thomas, President & CEO, PHDC. “We currently have a great base of contractors, but we need more. Right now, we have people waiting, especially for plumbing and carpentry services. This means jobs can be assigned instantly but our current contractors are at their max of the amount of jobs they can take. To serve more residents, we need more contractors, and we need them today!”

Benefits of working with PHDC: 

  • Steady stream of work
  • Opportunity to grow business
  • Quick and guaranteed payment (average < 30 days)
  • Provide assistance in resolving issues with homeowners
  • Help maintain availability of affordable housing in Philadelphia
  • Help vulnerable homeowners in Philadelphia keep their homes

Annually, 38-45% of PHDC home improvement contracts are assigned to MBE/WBE (Minority Business Enterprise/Women’s Business Enterprise) contractors, and 100% of contracts are given to small and mid-size businesses.“We give small businesses and minority businesses a steady stream of income and a chance to grow and expand their business. This relationship strengthens our economy, our neighborhoods, our contractors, and our homeowners. It is a win-win,” said Thomas.

Contractor Qualifications: 

  • Minimum of three (3) years of experience with the trade for which qualifications are being submitted
  • Been in business as the same legal entity for a minimum of three (3) years
  • Must have the appropriate trade license(s). Plumbers and electricians must be licensed in their trade by the City of Philadelphia. All other contractors must have a City of Philadelphia Contractor License
  • Must be registered with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office as a Home Improvement Contractor
  • Must have no City tax, water or other delinquencies. The contractor may be in a current payment agreement to resolve such delinquencies
  • No conflict of interest as disclosed on any forms or other documentation provided.
  • Must not own any property that is subject to any significant unresolved violation of City codes and ordinances
  • Must not own a property in Philadelphia subject to tax foreclosure proceeding in the last five years
  • Not have any owners/partners/officers of company been convicted of any felony within the past five years
Complete responses are being reviewed, and qualified contractors will receive a response within 30-45 days. Selected contractors will be given assignments immediately. Interested contractors can apply online.


Contact: Jamila Davis, Public Information Officer, DPD/PHDC,

September 16, 2020
PHILADELPHIA-Today the City of Philadelphia and PHDC announced an increase in rental assistance from up to$750 per month to up to $1,500 per month for Phase 2 of rental assistance for tenants affected by COVID-19.This increase will automatically apply to tenants that have already applied for Phase 2 funding, as well as all new applicants. PHDC is taking applications until September 30, 2020.

“Our goal throughout the pandemic has been – and continues to be – to keep people in their homes.” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Whether it’s through our rental assistance program, COVID emergency housing sites, or our eviction diversion program, maintaining housing for our most vulnerable residents is critical. This additional CARES Act funding for rental assistance allows us to serve landlords and families struggling to make ends meet. We encourage all eligible Philadelphians facing economic hardship during these challenging times to apply for rental assistance before the end of the month.”

Funding comes to Pennsylvania from the federal CARES Act. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is distributing funds to each county in the Commonwealth. The $750 per applicant cap is a requirement of the State program, but cities are allowed to increase that amount with local funding. Philadelphia is supplementing this funding with federal CARES Act dollars that went directly to the City.

“With many tenants unable to pay rent, and a federal eviction moratorium in place, it is essential that we help our renters and their landlords to weather the storm,” said Greg Heller, PHDC Senior Vice President of Community Investment. “We hope that this change allows many more landlords and tenants to participate and receive the assistance they need.”
“This increased rental assistance has numerous social, health and economic benefits for tenants, landlords and our City – including reducing evictions and stabilizing landlords, many of whom are small businesses,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke, a longtime advocate on Council for affordable housing for Philadelphians. “In addition, in many cases evictions lead to homelessness, which further burdens our City’s budget as the cost of providing services to the homeless will far exceed any allocation of CARES funds that we put into a program that will help keep tenants in their homes.”

PHASE 2 Program criteria include:

  • Applicants must be Philadelphia residents (renters in other counties must apply to their county’s designated organization)
  • Landlords and renters must each provide information
  • Renters must have lost more than 30% of their income due to reduced work hours/wages because of COVID-19, or have become unemployed after March 1 due to COVID-19
  • Renters who applied for PA unemployment assistance must have done so after March 1
  • Renters’ income before March 1 must be no more than 100% of the area median income, or $87,000 for a family of three (the income limit for Phase 1 was 50% of AMI)
  • Assistance is limited up to $1500 per tenant per month
  • Payments will be made to landlords
  • Landlords must agree to the terms of the program and may not displace the household or begin eviction proceedings for at least 60 days from the final month of rental assistance

Funding will be awarded for qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.


Public Art to Empower, Connect and Engage Communities
Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,
PHILADELPHIA, PA, July 15, 2020

PHDC announced today the launch of a new initiative titled ART IS ESSENTIAL. This program, made possible with $150,000 of public funds and $150,000 from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supports local artists who are interested in re-imagining community-based public art in Philadelphia.

ART IS ESSENTIAL is a first of its kind, multi-phased program designed to create high-quality, artist-driven and community-informed public art. Artists from across Philadelphia will reimagine how we engage with each other and our communities.

“From the pandemic to confronting the deep impact of racism and inequality, we are asking artists to help us explore and understand our present reality,” said Greg Heller, Senior Vice President of Community Investment at PHDC. “We want to lift up unheard and underrepresented voices across our communities and let artist-led ideas show us new ways to engage, connect, debate, and shape our future.”

Submissions are now being accepted during the program’s first phase for Philadelphia-based artists at any experience level, working in any medium. The requirement is that applicants address the central question of “What does engagement mean today?” A review committee of diverse arts professionals will select 100 exemplary proposals to receive awards of $1,000 each. Later phases will utilize the remainder of program funding to further develop and implement community-centered concepts from the 100 selected proposals.

“Through their work, artists contribute to a community’s culture, connectedness and healing during challenging times”, said Victoria Rogers, vice president/arts at Knight Foundation. “By empowering local artists to create community-centered public art in Philadelphia, we are connecting them to each other and their city when it’s needed most.”

Full eligibility and proposal requirements can be found at ArtIsEssentialPHLcom. The deadline for proposals is August 26, 2020

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

About PHDC
PHDC is Philadelphia’s full-service community development organization. Its work includes home repair programs, rental assistance, reactivating public land, and financing affordable housing with the goal of building equitable communities. Each PHDC initiative supports amenities that make Philadelphia neighborhoods great places to live.

PHDC announces Phase 2 of rental assistance for tenants affected by COVID-19. Applications to begin on July 6, 2020

June 29, 2020
Contact: Paul Chrystie, Deputy Director for Communications:

Today the City of Philadelphia and PHDC announced a second phase of rental assistance for tenants affected by COVID-19. PHDC will begin accepting applications on July 6 at

The first phase of rental assistance was able to assist more than 4,000 tenants. However, nearly 13,000 tenants applied to the program. Phase 2 will allow about 6,300 more renters to get help.

Funding comes to Pennsylvania from the federal CARES Act. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is distributing funds to each county in the state. Philadelphia’s share is $28.45 million.

“We are grateful to Governor Wolf and PHFA for providing funding so we can offer another round of rental assistance to Philadelphians impacted by COVID-19,” said Greg Heller, PHDC Senior Vice President of Community Investment. “Phase 1 demonstrated how much need there is. Phase 2 will help meet more of that need.”

Phase 2 will have different program criteria than Phase 1. Most notably, Phase 2 will serve tenants with a higher pre-COVID income. Any tenant in need, including applicants in Phase 1 who did not receive help, must apply in Phase 2.

Program criteria include:

  • Applicants must be Philadelphia residents (renters in other counties must apply to their county’s designated organization)
  • Landlords and renters must each provide information
  • Renters must have lost more than 30% of their income due to reduced work hours/wages because of COVID-19, or have become unemployed after March 1 due to COVID-19
  • Renters who applied for PA unemployment assistance must have done so after March 1
  • Renters’ income before March 1 must be no more than 100% of the area median income, or $87,000 for a family of three (the income limit for Phase 1 was 50% of AMI)
  • Assistance is limited to $750 per tenant per month and $4,500 over 6 months
  • Payments will be made to landlords
  • Landlords must agree to the terms of the program and may not displace the household or begin eviction proceedings for at least 60 days from the final month of rental assistance

Funding will be awarded for qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. PHDC will begin accepting applications on July 6. Applications may be submitted until September 30 or when funding runs out.

“Most of the COVID federal funding we have received has been used to keep people in their homes,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of Planning and Development. “Rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, utility assistance and emergency home repair all help prevent homelessness and stabilize neighborhoods. But Phase 1 didn’t reach everyone, and Phase 2 won’t either. The federal government needs to recognize that more can and must be done.”

PHDC Announces Landlord Working Capital Loan: Helping Small Landlords Remain Operational During COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA, PA-June 26, 2020
Today, PHDC announced another program focused on helping to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19.

The Landlord Working Capital Loan, to be administered by the Impact Loan Fund, provides short-term loans to landlords located in Philadelphia that own 15 or fewer units and need assistance to keep their housing units operational.

“Small business owners provide much of our city’s affordable housing,” said Greg Heller, Senior Vice President of Community Investment for PHDC. “But when tenants lose their jobs and cannot afford rent, that in turn impacts these small business owners who have trouble paying their bills and keeping the lights on. We need to make sure that these landlords stay in business, allowing their tenants to remain in their homes, and our city to maintain its affordable housing.”

Landlords frequently are not eligible for other types of small business loans.

The program’s rent guidelines stipulate that rents must remain affordable to tenants at or below 60% of Area Median Income (“AMI”) for Philadelphia County as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that rent increases for lease renewals cannot exceed 3% per year for the term of the loan.

Working Capital Loan terms:

  • Loans may not exceed $10,000 per Landlord.
  • Loans do not require repayment for the first six months of their term.
  • The term of each Loan may not exceed 36 months.
  • Interest rates will be fixed at 4%.
  • Closing fees are $150.
  • No early prepayment penalty.

“We are excited to expand our work with the City to support neighborhood-based landlords,” said Paul Marcus, Director of Impact Loan Fund. “This program will help landlords stay afloat and keep paying their bills while some of their tenants may not be able to pay rent due to COVID-19.”

To apply, landlords can visit: must be received by 11:59 pm on July 2nd. Loans will not be made on a first-come-first-served basis, rather they will be prioritized based on need.

PHDC also has other programs available to assist homeowners, tenants, and landlords during this time of crisis. These programs including CERA-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (short-term rent support), Rental Improvement Fund (property repairs to rental units), Restore Repair Renew (home repair loans), and Basic Systems Repair Program (emergency home repair grants). More information on these programs can be found on this website.

PHDC Announces New Land Sales Process: Reactivating Vacant Land to Become More Efficient and Effective

PHILADELPHIA, PA-June 25, 2020
Today PHDC launched a new process for buying vacant publicly owned land. The new system will more effectively and efficiently reactivate vacant property.

Potential buyers must now complete an application for each property to be acquired. Applications for side yards, community gardens, business expansion, and affordable and market-rate development are available on this website.

“It is critical that the process of reactivating vacant publicly owned land is fair, predictable and transparent,” said Angel Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Land Management for PHDC. “With this new process we can provide better customer service to buyers and return properties to productive use sooner.”

Previously applicants submitted a short Expression of Interest (EOI) for a property. That simple form encouraged people who wanted one property to submit multiple EOIs. Despite its simplicity, many EOIs were incomplete. As a result, staff spent significant time reviewing EOIs that were unlikely to result in a sale.

The application will require more detail than the EOI. It will request information about the buyer’s plans for the property and will ask tax and code compliance questions. For projects that will require financing the application requires financial information to ensure the applicant has the ability to complete the project.

This new process will help PHDC better implement the land sales goals that the Kenney administration, City Council, and PHDC identified last fall. It will also help PHDC consider applications based on criteria identified at the same time.

PHDC will continue to use competitive sales and Request for Proposals to advance the City’s housing and redevelopment goals. Requests to buy land via these competitive processes and the new application will be reviewed using the criteria Council outlined last year.

“We have specific goals for reactivating vacant land and criteria for reviewing applications and proposals,” said Rodriguez. “These processes will give us the information we need to select buyers who will help us meet those goals.”

As part of the transition to the new system PHDC will no longer process the more than 20,000 outstanding EOIs. Everyone with an open EOI will be notified by email and US mail. Those who are still interested in acquiring a property will need to apply to buy it.

PHDC will continue to process sales agreements for those applicants whose EOIs had been reviewed and were actively acquiring a property.

PHDC Announces COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program for Tenants Affected by COVID-19. Applications to Begin on May 12, 2020

May 8, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia launched an emergency rental assistance program today that is expected to keep at least 3,000 families in their homes. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will make rent payments for people who have lost income because of COVID-19.

“Unprecedented job losses have placed financial pressure on both renters and landlords,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help thousands of Philadelphia renters and, in turn, help landlords. Keeping people in their homes is critical during this crisis.”

Program information is available at Renters may begin submitting applications on Tuesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, May 16, at 5 p.m. Renters who do not have access to the internet or a smart phone will be able to get program and application information by calling 3-1-1.

To be eligible, renters must:

  • Rent an apartment or house in Philadelphia
  • Have a valid and current written lease signed by landlord
  • Have lost income because of COVID-19

Renters do not have to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to be eligible.

Assistance is limited to renters whose households earn 50% or less of the area median income. By household size, that limit is:

  • 1 person: $33,850 per year
  • 2 people: $38,650 per year
  • 3 people: $43,500 per year
  • 4 people: $48,300 per year
  • 5 people: $52,200 per year
  • 6 people: $56,050 per year
  • 7 people: $59,900 per year
  • 8 people: $63,800 per year

Income guidelines apply to household income before the COVID-19 related income loss.

When they apply, renters must provide:

  • A valid and current written lease signed by landlord
  • Proof of income from before the COVID-19-related income loss for all adult members of household
  • Valid ID that matches name on lease

To apply renters will have to submit:

  • Online application
  • Housing Condition Survey
  • Affidavit confirming loss of income due to COVID-19

Applicants will be able to fill out these documents through the website when the application period opens on Tuesday, May 12. Renters who do not have access to the internet or a smart phone will be able to get program and application information by calling 3-1-1.

For the renter to participate the renter’s landlord must:

  • Accept the rental payment (the first three months of assistance will be May, June and July 2020)
  • Have a rental license and be current on City taxes. If necessary, landlords will be given one week to resolve these issues with the City.
  • Not pursue eviction for non-payment while receiving rental assistance from the City or for six months after the final City payment
  • Waive any late fees or penalties for rent not paid in April and May
  • Provide six months after the final payment from the City to repay any missed rent from April and any unpaid rent from the period while the tenant is receiving assistance from the City

Renters are NOT eligible if:

  • They live in public housing
  • Receive other government rental assistance (Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers, etc.)
  • They have unpaid rent from before April
  • They are in the process of being evicted

Applicants selected will receive emergency rental assistance for three months. A re-evaluation will take place every three months. It is possible that assistance may be extended for additional months if funding permits and the renter still qualifies.

The program is funded with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds provided under the federal CARES Act. Enough funding is available to serve at least 3,000 households for three consecutive months. Income guidelines are based on federal CDBG low-income guidelines.

Individuals and corporations are able to make tax-deductible donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the website. “We have seen deep and heartfelt generosity during this time from people across our City. This is a great way that Philadelphians can help their neighbors in their time of need,” said Mayor Kenney.

PHDC and IMPACT Loan Fund Announce Pilot to Help Small Landlords

Today PHDC announces its Small Landlord Rental Improvement Fund (RIF) pilot program in partnership with Impact Loan Fund. RIF assists landlords with fewer than 10 rental apartments. The purpose of RIF is to improve and repair units and stabilize the supply of affordable rental housing in the City.

RIF can make loans from $10,000 to under $25,000 for landlords to improve their rental units to address health and safety-related repairs. Participating landlords must maintain affordable rents for the term of the loan, meet fair housing guidelines, and have a rental license.

The first phase of this program will take place in the following zip codes: 19120, 19122, 19124, 19125, 19133, 19134, 19137, and 19140.

Pilot Area Map with Zip Codes

“The Small Landlord Rental Improvement Fund is a staple of City Council’s Poverty Action Plan,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, District 7. “I am proud to partner with PHDC, who designed this program, and Impact Services, who will manage the fund, to direct financial support to landlords who keep our city affordable and accessible while spending about a quarter of every rent payment on maintenance, insurance, payroll, and utilities alone. I look forward to our city’s continued public-private partnership to reduce small landlord costs so that we can keep families safe, warm, and healthy in their homes at a time of crisis.”

“Philadelphia’s “mom and pop” landlords provide much of our city’s affordable housing,” said Gregory Heller, Sr. Vice President of Community Investment, PHDC.” These small businesses often have challenges getting bank loans to maintain and invest in their properties. We are grateful to Impact Loan Fund for partnering with PHDC to ensure that these landlords have access to the resources they need to maintain quality affordable housing for our citizens.”

“We are excited to work with the City to help landlords without access to resources be able to make improvements to their properties,” said Paul Marcus, Director, Impact Loan Fund. “This will help make more available affordable units to renters in our target area.”

For more information and to apply, please visit:, or contact:, or call: 215-974-0900.

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC,
Paul Marcus, Director, Impact Loan Fund,

Physical Conditions and Needs Assessment RFP Released

For Immediate Release: February 21, 2020
Contact: Jamila Davis, 215-686-9727,

PHDC Seeks Consultant to Begin the Process of Placing Germantown Properties Back into Productive Use

PHILADELPHIA- Today PHDC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to a qualified consultant (i.e. an Engineering, Construction Management, or Architectural Firm) to complete a Physical Conditions and Needs Assessment (“PCNA”) for a portfolio of residential properties in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. These properties are owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

Greg Heller, Senior Vice President of Community Investment, PHDC and Executive Director, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, released an open letter to the community detailing the events that led to the acquisition of these properties, and the plans moving forward. The RFP and the letter can be found on the PHDC website.

RFP responses are due on Monday, March 30, 2020.

PHA and Jonathan Rose Companies Start Construction for Norris Apartments Phase V

133 New Mixed-Income Rental Apartments Coming to North Philadelphia

January 15, 2020

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) and its private partner, the Jonathan Rose Companies, broke ground today for the Norris Apartments Phase V in the city’s North Central neighborhood.

Norris Phase V complements ongoing private housing and commercial development in the neighborhood. It consists of 133 newly constructed mixed-income rental units and one commercial space. It is the final phase of development that replaces the 147-unit low-rise development that dated back to late 1959 and early 1960 which had become obsolete. The $120 million development area is located at the intersection of North 10th and West Berks streets next to the Temple University SEPTA regional rail station.

The City of Philadelphia and PHA were awarded a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant by HUD in June 2014 to revitalize the North Central neighborhood. A series of community meetings identified a number of resident priorities: more job training and opportunities; reduced crime and increased neighborhood safety; elimination of trash-strewn vacant land; and high-quality educational resources. The North Central Philadelphia transformation plan continues to address these concerns.

“This is a memorable, red-letter day in the redevelopment of the North Central neighborhood,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “When PHA first began the renewal of this community with the City, we promised to replace all existing rental units with residents having the right to return. Norris Phase V is the final piece of the pie in the replacement of the old rental units. We have kept our promise.”

To obtain the grant, the City worked with more than 40 partners, including the School District of Philadelphia, Temple University, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), the Philadelphia Police Department, local leaders and community stakeholders through the Division of Housing and Community Development to create the resident-driven North Central Philadelphia transformation plan.

“In 2013 the City accepted the $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods Grant as part of a comprehensive revitalization strategy for North Central Philadelphia. These funds allowed us to directly address the neighborhood’s housing stock, access to employment, education, social service programs, and greatly impact Philadelphia’s overall economy,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Because of this grant, we have been able to leverage $125 million in additional funding to have a transformative effect on this community.”

“We’re proud to be here today breaking ground for the Norris Homes Phase V,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), whose district includes this affordable housing development. “We want all our neighborhoods to be communities of choice, and the creation of 133 apartments and low and moderate income families in the heart of North Philadelphia is a very positive development in our ongoing efforts to achieve that goal. We will not rest until every family and individual has a safe and affordable place to call home.”

The transit-oriented development adjacent to the SEPTA Regional Rail is designed to meet Enterprise Green Communities certification and is complemented by 2,200 square feet of retail and Jonathan Rose Companies’ Communities of Opportunity amenities that include a social service office, community room, fitness center, bike, storage and package rooms, computer center, community garden, public green space and outdoor terrace with activity areas.

“We are extremely vested in improving the lives of our residents and we implement that vision through our Communities of Opportunity initiatives,” said Jonathan F.P. Rose, president and CEO of Jonathan Rose Companies, whose previous North Philadelphia project, Paseo Verde, located just a block east of the Norris site, provided an economic catalyst for neighborhood investment. “Our vision is to empower residents through the co-creation of programs to improve their health and well-being, resulting in better life outcomes using great housing as the platform.”

The Housing Authority guaranteed the right to return to all those displaced by the demolition of the original Norris Homes, and tenant leaders say that almost all the families are moving back to the community, with some already occupying apartments in previous phases.

Construction financing includes $26 million in bonds from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which are cash collateralized during construction with $9.6 million from the Philadelphia Housing Authority and a $22.1 million construction loan from Bank of America. The permanent financing will include a $12.6 million Freddie Tel Forward from Capital One, $9.6 million from the Philadelphia Housing Authority, $14.2 million from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, of which $8 million is part of the Choice Neighborhood funding, and $13.4 million of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) from Bank of America.


Village Square on Haverford

Project Team:
• Developer: Lomax Real Estate Partners, Mt. Vernon Manor CDC
• Architect: WRT
• Supermarket operator: Fresh Market
• Other anchor tenant: WURD Radio
• Financing Partner: Real Property Capital
• Commercial Real Estate Development and Capital Advisors: RPC United Advisors
• Leasing Agents: Goldoller Management Services/CVA Commercial Group

3601-15 Haverford Ave., 3623-3637 Haverford Ave., 3603-3627 Mount Vernon St., 622-624 N. 36th Street and 628-634 N. 36th St.

Project description:
Redevelopment of a long-vacant site, owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and comprising nearly two full city blocks, to include a 21,000 square foot full-service supermarket, a new studio for WURD radio, a locally-owned coffee shop, 32 affordable rental housing units, 18 for-sale workforce housing units, and 116 market-rate rental housing units. The developer was awarded this project through a competitive Request for Proposals in 2017.

Key features:
• Lead developer is a minority-owned development company, partnering with the local community development corporation.
• The project will bring a high-quality supermarket to a community that currently lacks access to fresh food.
• WURD, Pennsylvania’s only African-American-owned radio station will relocate to the project site and have a visible presence in a historically black community.
• 30% of the total residential units in the project will be rented or sold as affordable or workforce housing.
• The project has written support from the Mantua Civic Association, who worked closely with the developer to ensure alignment with community goals.
• This project is financed in-part with equity from a Qualified Opportunity Fund, taking advantage of its location in a federally designated Opportunity Zone.
• This project is subject to the Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art policy and the developer will commit at least 1% of the total construction cost to original works of public art on-site.

Susquehanna Square: Groundbreaking for 37 New Affordable Housing Units

Susquehanna Square gives Philadelphians more affordable housing options

PHILADELPHIA– Community Ventures, Grands As Parents, and the City of Philadelphia announce Susquehanna Square. This project provides 37 units of much-needed affordable housing including 14 units targeted for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren or other kinship caregivers.

“We are excited to announce the Susquehanna Square project. This project will be a step to address the great need for affordable housing in this area,” said Anne Fadullon, Director, Department of Planning & Development. “I am proud of this development and the opportunity to provide affordable, safe and quality homes for the people of this community.”

“We hope that Susquehanna Square will be a pilot project for a long-term partnership with Grands As Parents to provide grandparent-headed households affordable housing opportunities and create a stable home environment for these families.,” said David La Fontaine, Executive Director of Community Ventures. “We want our residents and community members to focus on more important things than to worry about how they will afford their rent or where they will live. This project gives opportunities to Philadelphians with multi-generational housing needs and affordable options in a thriving and changing part of North Philadelphia.”

“Susquehanna Square is one of the first intergenerational housing developments built in Philadelphia, and we’re proud to support it,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “This will enable grandparents caring for grandchildren to live in affordable housing in North Philadelphia. We thank our partners at Community Ventures, Grands as Parents and Philadelphia housing officials for all their work on this very important project.”

Susquehanna Square will be composed of three buildings with 37 units in total. Units sizes will vary, with one, two, three and four bedrooms. 14 of the units that are two, three or four bedrooms will be targeted to grandparents raising their grandchildren or other kinship caregivers.

“We are so pleased after 20 years to see this project break ground,” Jean Hackney, Vice President and Executive Director. “This is a great step in providing caregivers housing they need.”
The project has been funded by the Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Home Loan Banks of Pittsburgh and New York, TD Bank, TD Charitable Foundation, the National Equity Fund, and Community Lenders.

Onion Flats Architecture and Domus Construction are leading the project development team.

Construction began in September 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in October 2020.

WCRP Breaks Ground on Five Permanently Affordable Townhomes in Point Breeze

Mamie Nichols Development will be part of community-ownership, allowing housing prices to remain affordable

October 30, 2019

Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) and the Community Justice Land Trust today broke ground on 5 new permanently affordable townhomes in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia. The townhomes will be located in the Mamie Nichols Homeownership Development, which is named after the founder and executive director of the Point Breeze Federation.

WCRP, a development organization that has a 30 year history of serving women and their families, is continuing Mamie Nichols’ legacy. “Mamie Nichols was a powerful leader who worked tirelessly to strengthen her community,” said Nora Lichtash, executive director of WCRP. “These townhomes will not only provide affordable homeownership opportunities, but it will hopefully inspire the next generation of affordable housing advocates.”

The townhomes are part of the Community Justice Land Trust (CJLT), a project led by WCRP that ensures permanent affordability and community control by retaining ownership of the land and using a community-driven decision making model. This model allows housing prices to remain affordable by responding to community demands rather than market demands.

“The Community Justice Land Trust allows us to provide affordable housing at a time when we are seeing neighborhoods gentrifying and displacing residents at a rapid rate,” said Lichtash. “More importantly, it guarantees that it will remain affordable for future buyers.”

Since it’s zoning approval process, the Mamie Nichols Homeownership Development project was met with overwhelming support from the neighborhood. Second District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson was also an early supporter of the project.

“Mamie Nichols Homeownership Development has been a laudable vision that I’m proud to stand with WCRP to see become a reality,” said Councilman Johnson. “Too often, in my district, I have seen development push long-term residents out of their neighborhoods. This development will guarantee that families aren’t priced out of their homes as the neighborhood changes.”

The Mamie Nichols Housing Development is the third development project within the Community Justice Land Trust, continuing the goal of expanding housing affordability throughout Philadelphia. WCRP also developed 36 lease-to-purchase homes in Port Richmond (Grace Townhomes) and 35 homes are under construction in Germantown (Nicole Hines Townhomes). Unlike the prior to two developments that are lease with a plan to own, the Mamie Nichols Homeownership Development is the Community Justice Land Trust’s first homeownership development, which allows residents to be homeowners from day one.

About WCRP
WCRP is committed to social and economic equity for low-income women and their families, developing housing, providing supportive services, advocating for policy change and honoring leadership, dignity, and justice in our communities. Learn more at

Community Justice Land Trust
The Community Justice Land Trust (CJLT) was established in 2009 to create permanently affordable housing in rapidly changing neighborhoods and to meet other community needs like supporting or establishing long-term community gardens and locally-owned businesses. The CJLT has developed 36 rental homes in Port Richmond with an additional 35 under construction in Germantown.

City Officials Celebrate 500th Home Purchased Through The “Philly First Home” First-Time Home Buyers Program

October 21, 2019

Less than five months since its unveiling, over 500 Philadelphia families have purchased their first home under the city’s Philly First Home program.

Through Philly First Home, qualifying residents receive home buyer counseling and a grant of up to $10,000 towards the down payment and closing costs on their purchase of a home. In return, the program has already generated $2.8 million for the city through realty transfer taxes, with additional revenues in property taxes expected.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) joined Councilmember Cherelle Parker (9th District) and new homeowner April Broaddus outside her home in Olney today to talk about Philly First Home and what it means for Philadelphians. “Homeownership is the most significant investment an individual or family will ever make, and we need to make sure everyone has equal access to the long-term financial stability that homeownership can provide,” Clarke said. “Unfortunately, the rising cost of living, credit card and student loan debt, and stagnant wages force too many Philadelphians to stay renters. This inhibits their ability to save for the down payment they need to buy their own home. That’s the impetus behind Philly First Home.”

Councilmember Parker, whose 9th District covers Olney, Oak Lane and other “middle neighborhoods” in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, praised what the Philly First Home program means to home buyers like April Broaddus. “The Philly First Home program is evidence that, with just a little push, we can help many Philadelphians overcome barriers such as student loan and credit card debt to achieve their goal of becoming a homeowner,” Parker said. “By incentivizing homeownership, we are stabilizing and preserving our neighborhoods for decades to come and enabling families to begin building wealth.”

April Broaddus’s grant through the program was for $6,900 and the final purchase price of her home was $115,000. She is grateful to City Council and city housing officials for conceiving and supporting an innovative program allowing her to buy her own home for her family. “With the right mindset and knowledge of the market and how it all works, homeownership is an achievable goal,” Broaddus said. “It is important for our generation to be well versed in the business of real estate, as this knowledge can break the cycle of poverty for generations to come.”

Philly First Home provides qualified home buyers with a one-time forgivable grant of up to $10,000 or 6 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Home buyers are required to receive counseling before receiving the grant, must not have owned a home for three years, and have household incomes no higher than 120 percent of area median income.

Councilmember Mark F. Squilla (1st District) was champion of the program since it’s onset, citing the ability to lower barriers to homeownership for city residents. “Our residents deserve to achieve the American Dream of owning their first home and this fund [affords] them the ability to buy homes with access to money for a down payment,” he said in May.

Councilmember María Quiñones Sánchez (7th District) added, “Providing the small boost enabling more of our neighbors to become homeowners, this is another great tool in our toolbox to expand affordable housing options in our city.”

If the home buyer owns their home for 15 years, the grant is forgiven. If they sell their home before 15 years is up, they must pay the grant back to the city to help other families.

In less than five months since its inception, the progress of Philly First Home is startling:

  • 545 grants awarded to home buyers and purchases completed
  • $4.7 Million in total grants awarded to home buyers
  • $8,654.00 — average grant
  • $160,492 — average purchase price of the homes
  • $2,867,200 in real estate transfer taxes collected by city on these sales.

Council President Clarke, Councilmember Parker and Ms. Broaddus were joined at the press conference by housing counselors assisting first-time home buyers and city housing officials.

“The financial assistance along with the housing counseling not only helps families buy the home but also helps them stay in it,” said Anne Fadullon, the City’s Director of Planning and Development. “Moreover, our $4.7 million in grants has supported $87 million in sales and $2.7 million in Transfer Tax revenue to the City.”

Olney Homeowner April Broaddus Joins Council President Clarke, Councilmember Parker, Others in Front of Her Home

The Plaza @31Brewerytown Officially Opens to the Public

October 21st

Westrum Development Company (Westrum), along with Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP) and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) celebrate the official opening of the Plaza@31Brewerytown featuring FUTURE VALLEY

The evening will start off with some celebratory comments from John Westrum, Founder, and CEO of Westrum Development Company, Greg Heller of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and Jane Golden of the Mural Arts Philadelphia, followed by a ribbon-cutting in front of the Plaza which is located at 1410-1430 N. 31st between Master and Jefferson Streets in Philadelphia. Guests can enjoy drinks provided by Philly Yard Bar, catered food, live entertainment, a tour of the new site and a chance to meet David Guinn and Robert Goodman, the two visionaries behind the design of Future Valley.

Owned and maintained by Westrum, the 4000-sq ft space is an artfully designed public space integrated into the campus of the HUB@31Brewerytown rental community. It’s official opening to the residents of Brewerytown represents the culmination of Westrum’s 15-year master plan and commitment to the revitalization of that neighborhood. Working with MAP and through the PRA’s Percent for Art Program, local artists were chosen to design the space in a way that gives tribute to Brewerytown’s heritage while celebrating 21st Century ingenuity.

FUTURE VALLEY, the murals, and sculptures designed by artists David Guinn and Robert Goodman explore the relationship between the natural world and the built environment, one of tension and collaboration. Vegetation and the structural elements of the nineteenth-century breweries combine in ways that illuminate the complex entanglement of nature, time and humanity. References to local historical architecture borrow from the past but gesture to future possibilities.

Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 30 years, Mural Arts have united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating nearly 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to understanding with projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world, and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public art and its preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ iconic and unparalleled collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals.” For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit Follow us on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and Instagram, MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook, and phillymuralarts on YouTube.

Westrum Development Company is an award-winning residential real estate company in the mid-Atlantic region. Over the course of its 30+ plus year history, Westrum has successfully designed and developed more than 100 communities and constructed and occupied over 4,400 homes and apartments throughout the region.

Westrum continues to build on a strong and established past, with innovative new methods to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry. Whether the project is revitalization in cities and boroughs or land development in the suburbs, Westrum promotes the responsible management of our company, our properties, the environment, and the community.

* The Plaza was envisioned and made possible by Westrum Development Company in cooperation with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Selected Winner of 2019 Robert C Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award

September 23, 2019

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority has been selected by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing as a winner of the 2019 Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award, which is an annual recognition of the innovative ways the public sector is addressing the country’s affordable housing crisis.

The winners, selected by a jury of nationally renowned housing industry leaders, were announced during ULI’s 2019 Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. Terwilliger Center Founder and former ULI Chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger served as the jury chairman. “These policies demonstrate the hard work, creative thinking, and leadership that is necessary to provide affordable housing for those who so desperately need it,” Terwilliger said. “They are fine examples of what is achievable, and it is my hope that they inspire more creativity and more solutions in more of our communities.”

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority was recognized for its proactive actions in creating affordable housing before it becomes a problem in the city. The goal of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Workforce Housing program is to identify clusters of publicly owned land, bundle them, sell them to a developer at the highest possible sale price to the public sector. The program requires developers to ensure the properties are owner-occupied, homeowners are income certified, and that resales are made at an affordable price-point for up to 30 years, and create a credit enhancement program that matches a land and credit subsidy. The first workforce housing project went to settlement in 2015 and has led to 13 projects with 148 units of workforce housing, along with an additional 62 market rate units in mixed-income projects.

The award recognizes exemplary state and local programs, policies, and practices that support the production, rehabilitation, or preservation of workforce and affordable housing. It was created in 2011 to honor the legacy of the late Robert C. Larson, a former Terwilliger Center advisory board member, former ULI Foundation chairman, and a longtime ULI trustee.

The Larson Award is part of the ULI Terwilliger Center’s housing awards program, which honors developments and programs that provide affordable, well-designed, and accessible housing choices for people with a mix of incomes, including families earning up to 120 percent of the area median income.

The program recognizes states and localities that undertake a broad range of policy and administrative initiatives to support housing affordability. This can take the form of regulatory or administrative changes such as allowing higher densities and waiving fees, or programs that provide grants or financing assistance. Policy programs are judged on several factors, including impact on the supply of workforce housing, comprehensiveness of the tools and programs employed, involvement of public/private partnerships, and the ability to leverage private and nonprofit funds, among other criteria.

To read the full announcement, click here.

Welcoming Philadelphia’s First Public Sculpture Depicting an Individual African American Girl

New statue unveiled at Smith Playground as part of the 60thAnniversary of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Programs

July 31, 2019
The City of Philadelphia celebrated the unveiling of MVP, Philadelphia’s first freestanding statue depicting an individual African American girl, as the official kickoff of the City of Philadelphia’s 60th Anniversary of the Percent for Art Programs.

Speakers included Brian Abernathy, Managing Director; Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner; Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer; and Brian McCutcheon, Artist. Also in attendance were Connor Barwin, Founder and Board President of Make The World Better Foundation; Mr. Ron, “The Mayor of Smith Playground”; Michael Mychak, Smith Playground Recreation Leader; Smith Playground summer campers, project partner organizations, artists, and many more.

“Philadelphia’s youth are the MVPs of our city,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The installation of MVP is an overdue public celebration of the incredible determination and achievement of every young Philadelphian.”

MVP by Brian McCutcheon is located at Smith Playground in South Philadelphia at 2100 South 24th Street. The original artwork was commissioned through the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy’s Percent for Art Program in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, and the Make the World Better Foundation.

MVP celebrates those who have historically been underrepresented in Philadelphia’s public art collection – people of color, women, and our youth,” said Margot Berg, Public Art Director. “As Philadelphia’s collection of public art continues to grow through the Percent for Art Program and other initiatives, the City remains committed to commissioning artworks that reflect our city’s diverse communities and histories.”

The figurative bronze statue depicts a young, African American female basketball player. She has just taken possession of the ball and is poised in a decisive moment which will dictate what happens next. MVP represents the power and potential of young girls, exemplifying the pursuit of success through dedication and hard work.

MVP is inspired by the trailblazing Philadelphia athlete Ora Washington (1898-1971). Ms. Washington was a legendary Philadelphian who excelled in basketball and tennis. She played for the Philadelphia Tribunes basketball team from 1931 to 1943 and was inducted into The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. A multitalented athlete, she was also the American Tennis Association’s National Women’s Tennis Champion every year from 1925 to 1937. Ms. Washington’s achievements in the face of racial oppression and its systemic obstacles to equal opportunity embody the narrative of determination triumphing over injustice.

“Philadelphia inspired the development of my professional practice as an artist,” said Brian McCutcheon. “Drawing from my experiences living in South Philadelphia, it’s been an honor create this monument to the youth of the Smith Playground community. The figurative statue and dedication to Ora Washington represent the resilience of Philadelphian youth throughout the city.”

This Percent for Art opportunity was announced nationally to artists and artist teams as an open Call to Artists in December 2017. Of 52 applicants, four finalists were selected to present proposals. The selection panel included: Cavin Jones, Artist; Ife Nii Owoo, Artist; Jennie Shanker, Artist and Professor, Tyler University. The Advisory Panel included representatives from: The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Make the World Better, and a conservator from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The selection panel unanimously voted in favor of McCutcheon’s proposal.

“The children and teens that come to Smith Playground everyday can see and be inspired by this powerful sculpture that looks like someone in their community,” said Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer. “My hope is, like the Rocky statue, MVP will become a local destination where people will come, replicate the pose, take photos, or selfies and if only for a moment feel like a MVP – a most valuable player.”

The unveiling of MVP kicked off a series of programs presented by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority as part of the 60th Anniversary of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Programs, the first in the nation. MVP is the newest of the “Percent for Art 60″, a selection of 60 public artworks commissioned through the Percent for Art Programs. The “Percent for Art 60″ are in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia and represents 60 years of public art created in a diversity of mediums, subject matter, scale and intent. In addition to the unveiling of MVP, the “Percent for Art 60” celebratory programs include:

  • Public Art Trivia on the jumbo digital screen at Commerce Square made possible with the support of Brandywine Realty Trust.
  • An Interactive Map to take self-guided tours of Philadelphia’s public art throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.
  • A social media Scavenger Hunt with cool prizes for the winner.
  • An exhibition opening on September 19 at the Center for Architecture + Design.
  • And a Panel Discussion with public artists on November 7.

To learn more about how to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Programs, visit

About the Artist
Brian McCutcheon is an Indianapolis-based artist and founder of Ignition Arts, LLC, which specializes in large-scale public art commissions. Living for a decade in South Philadelphia, McCutcheon considers Philadelphia a fundamental influence on his work. He has been the recipient of a number of grants, awards, and artist residencies, including a 2010-11 Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant and a summer 2009 residency at Sculpture Space in Utica, New York. Over the past decade, his work has been featured in a wide range of exhibitions on a national and international scale.

About the Percent for Art Program
Enacted in 1959, the City’s Percent for Art ordinance requires that one percent of the total dollar amount of any construction project that includes City funds be devoted to the commissioning of site-specific public art. The intent of the Percent for Art Ordinance is to enhance the City’s public environment by incorporating exceptional site-specific works of art.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program works with developers building on land purchased from or acquired by the PRA to commission original works of public art across the city.  The PRA’s Public art can be found in such diverse developments as high-rise commercial and residential towers, universities, parks and hotels.

The City of Philadelphia Celebrates 60 Years of Percent for Art

Spring 2019

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the nation’s first Percent for Art Programs.

In 1959, Philadelphia pioneered the Percent for Art model requiring the inclusion of site-specific public art in new construction or major renovation projects in the amount of one percent of the total budget. The charge of the Percent for Art Program is to commission outstanding and enduring artworks, which respond specifically to public spaces and communities. This groundbreaking model has been replicated in cities across the country, reflecting our collective desire to experience visual art as a component of the built environment.

“As the first city in the nation to establish the Percent for Art model, Philadelphia is proud to recognize this important milestone,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The public art commissioned through the Percent for Art Programs connect our citizens to these public spaces.”

Both the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s and the City’s Percent for Art Programs were established in 1959 – the PRA’s began in March and the City’s in December. The PRA’s Percent for Art requirement mandated that at least one percent of the building construction costs be allocated to the commissioning of original site-specific public art. Similarly, the City’s Percent for Art ordinance required that “an amount not to exceed” one percent of the total dollar amount of any City-funded construction project be devoted to original site-specific public art.

Philadelphia is home to an unparalleled collection of public art in every medium including sculptures, memorials, art glass, kinetic works and murals throughout all areas of the city. Over 650 of these artworks were commissioned through the City’s Percent for Art Programs. Committed to the principle that art should be available to all of Philadelphia’s communities, the Percent for Art Programs have brought professional visual artists’ work to residential buildings, educational campuses, libraries, recreation centers and other civic spaces in every neighborhood. Believed to be the oldest and largest collection of public art in the United States, our extraordinary collection tells the story of Philadelphia’s rich history and diversity and reflects Philadelphia’s long-standing commitment to arts and culture.

“Philadelphia’s unrivaled public art collection is the result of the collective efforts of local arts organizations, civic groups, and visionary individuals and illustrates our enduring belief in the value of art in everyday life,” said Margot Berg, Public Art Director. “Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Percent for Art Programs is an opportunity to recognize our city’s remarkable collection and to celebrate our reputation as the greatest public art city in the nation.”

The activities celebrating the 60th Anniversary begin with the Percent for Art 60, a selection of 60 public artworks commissioned through OACCE and PRA’s Percent for Art Programs. “The Percent for Art 60 represent the diversity in the types of public art in neighborhoods throughout the city and showcases a progression of public art since 1959,” said Julia Guerrero, Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program. The Percent for Art 60 will be highlighted through anniversary activities happening this year.

60th Anniversary activities include:

  • Percent for Art 60 Interactive Map – The Percent for Art 60 will be highlighted in a new online map. Visit the interactive map to learn more about the artist, location, and details about each artwork. The map can be used for self-guided tours and to find the Percent for Art 60 in your neighborhood. Map launch-date to be announced.
  • #PercentForArt60 Photo Contest – Philadelphians and visitors alike are invited to snap and share their images of the #PercentForArt60 to join in the 60th Anniversary celebration. Participants can use the online map to find the #PercentForArt60 throughout the city. Share your images on social media using #PercentForArt60 to be part of the fun!
  • New Percent for Art Dedications – The public artworks commissioned through OACCE’s and PRA’s Percent for Art Programs that are unveiled and dedicated this year will be highlighted as part of the 60th Anniversary.
  • 60th Anniversary Exhibition – Planned for this fall, an exhibition will feature a visual timeline of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art program over the past 60 years. The multi-media exhibit will include video, past proposal documents and models for visitors to learn more about the history of this groundbreaking program.
  • 60th Anniversary Reception & Panel Discussion – The closing reception of the 60th Anniversary exhibition will feature a panel discussion and serve as the key event of the Percent for Art 60th Anniversary. The panel discussion will celebrate the role of public art, discuss how it has changed in the past 60 years and imagine how it can continue to evolve in the future.

To stay up-to-date about Percent for Art 60th Anniversary announcements or additional events, visit

About the Percent for Art Programs
The City’s Percent for Art ordinance requires that one percent of the total dollar amount of any construction project that includes City funds be devoted to the commissioning of site-specific public art. The intent of the Percent for Art Ordinance is to enhance the City’s public environment by incorporating exceptional site-specific works of art. 
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program works with developers building on land purchased from or acquired by the PRA to commission original works of public art across the city.  The PRA’s Public art can be found in such diverse developments as high-rise commercial and residential towers, universities, parks and hotels.

About City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) supports and promotes arts, culture and the creative industries; develops partnerships that ensure culture and creativity are essential components of Philadelphia’s community revitalization, education, and economic development strategies; and links Philadelphians to cultural resources and opportunities. For more information about the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, visit and follow @CreativePHL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Philadelphia Land Bank And Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Partner In Garden Preservation Across The City

The City of Philadelphia, PLB and PRA efforts keeps gardens in the hands of residents.

May 17, 2019

PHILADELPHIA-Today City Officials, Philadelphia Land Bank (PLB), Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), Neighborhood Garden Trust (NGT), community partners, and gardeners announced their efforts around preserving and protecting community gardening and urban agriculture.

The City has been working with NGT to preserve gardens across the city where and when possible.

“Neighborhood gardens are critically important to the vibrancy of a neighborhood,” said City of Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones, 4th District. “The reuse of a vacant lots into a neighborhood gardens like Five Loaves Two Fish in Hestonville eliminates blight and at the same time teaches our young people the importance of urban agriculture.  I enthusiastically pledge my support for more urban gardens in our great city.”

“Community gardening is an important part of Philadelphia neighborhoods and communities,” said Angel Rodriguez, Executive Director, Philadelphia Land Bank.  “The Land Bank is committed to working with NGT and residents across the City to be a partner in the preservation of community gardens.”

“Philadelphia has a wonderful and thriving urban agriculture scene,” said Greg Heller, Executive Director, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. “Our public landholding agencies have been, and will continue to work with our nonprofit and community partners to build and preserve gardens and urban farms – assets so vital to the health and prosperity of our neighborhoods.”

“NGT’s work to secure and protect community gardens with insecure land tenure would not be possible without the partnership of the Philadelphia Land Bank and Redevelopment Authority,” said Jenny Greenberg, Executive Director, Neighborhood Gardens Trust. “It’s a critical time to work together to preserve these community-managed open spaces that provide so many benefits to our city before it is too late.”

“Most people looked at these lots as blighted, diseased, and filthy,” said Victor Young, Gardener, Five Loaves Two Fish Community Garden. “But when we surveyed this land, we saw beauty, healing, stability, and possibilities for our community. This garden is a true asset to our neighborhood, and brings the gardeners so much joy.”

If residents are interested in learning more about how to obtain a community garden, this brochure outlines the process.

HACE Breaks Ground on Casa Indiana, $16 Million Affordable Senior Housing For Independent Living

May 6, 2019

HACE CDC was joined by Mayor James Kenney, elected officials and state agency representatives, to celebrate the ground-breaking of its newest affordable housing development, Casa Indiana. This $16 million project adds 50 new affordable units to HACE’s current portfolio of over 450 existing units in North Philadelphia’s Fairhill and St. Hugh neighborhoods, serving seniors, families, artists and small businesses. Casa Indiana’s units are specifically targeted to aging residents (62 years and over), who will be able to take advantage of community social activities and supportive services, like shuttles to medical appointments and on-site benefits enrollment services, to remain self-sufficient for as long as possible.

“In many cases, these men and women have spent their whole lives in the neighborhood. Their families and friends are here. We know that seniors have much higher quality of life – and better health outcomes – when they are able to remain close to loved ones, and in familiar settings,” said Maria Gonzalez, HACE’s President and CEO. “We want to make sure no one has to move out of the neighborhood just to get the support they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life as an older resident.”

Casa Indiana is a catalytic project within a larger resident-driven strategy to address the impacts of decades of deep poverty and high crime in Fairhill and St. Hugh. Incorporating a number of innovative interventions on the blocks surrounding the future site of Casa Indiana and the Richmond Industrial Track, HACE has crafted a creative, partnership-rich revitalization strategy that ensures equitable livability and affordability. By targeting its efforts to key sites at a critical time, HACE builds from ongoing and recent efforts to address areas that have been identified by residents and stakeholders as the most challenging and repeat problem areas in the neighborhood, and transforms them into long-term assets for inclusive neighborhood growth.

Casa Indiana is made possible through funding from the Philadelphia Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), the National Equity Fund, Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), PA Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED), and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

Presby’s Inspired Life Revitalizes City Block With Low-Income Senior Housing In South Philadelphia

New Community Built on Mayor Kenney’s Childhood Street

April 23, 2019
Today, Presby’s Inspired Life, along with Councilman Mark Squilla and residents, celebrated the grand opening of Cantrell Place in South Philadelphia. The site of the new buildings, located on the same street where Mayor Kenney grew up, has revitalized a city block by transforming 33 vacant lots into 61 units of Affordable Housing for Philadelphia seniors.

The grand opening celebration included remarks from Councilman Squilla who was instrumental in securing city funding to bring this project to fruition. In addition, remarks were given by City Representative Sheila Hess, Office of the City Representative; Executive Director Greg Heller, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority; Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; Director of Eastern Region Nancy Twyman, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; Senior Executive VP & Chief Development and Operating Officer Lopa Kolluri, Philadelphia Housing Authority.

In development since 2011, Cantrell Place meets a critical need for quality, affordable housing for seniors in South Philadelphia. A majority of the new Cantrell Place residents waited in line overnight to receive an application. A portion of the apartments were set aside for homeless and mobility- and sensory-impaired seniors.

“There is a housing crisis in the city of Philadelphia, and no group is more impacted by this crisis than seniors,” said Judee M. Bavaria, President & CEO of Presby’s Inspired Life. “It is estimated that the older adult population is set to outpace Millennials over the next decade, and we know that affordable, quality housing is at a premium. Not many developers are responding to this need with more urgency than Presby’s Inspired Life.”

“I’m very pleased that there will be affordable housing options for seniors in the neighborhood where I spent my childhood,” said Mayor Kenney. “The grand opening of Cantrell Place will make it that much easier for longtime residents to remain in their neighborhoods, which is a priority of our Housing Action Plan. I’m thankful for the work of Presby’s Inspired Life in providing access to housing for those who need it most.”

Presby’s portfolio includes 36 Affordable Housing communities in the greater Philadelphia region — most of which boast wait lists twice, sometimes triple, the number of units available. Presby was awarded tax-credit funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency in July 2016 to develop Cantrell Place. The developer is Domus.

Bavaria added, “Cantrell Place is one example of how we are fulfilling a critical need for quality Affordable Housing for older adults in Philadelphia, and we are able to do this with help from local officials and organizations, like Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Philadelphia Housing Authority, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

ABOUT PRESBY’S INSPIRED LIFE — Presby’s Inspired Life, a not-for-profit, faith-based organization, currently provides continuing care and Affordable Housing for more than 3,000 people 62 and better, across more than 30 communities throughout greater Philadelphia. The organization has been serving the Philadelphia community for more than 60 years.

CANTRELL PLACE – Is a 61-unit affordable housing community for those 62 and better, sponsored by Presby’s Inspired Life. Cantrell Place received the 2018 “Best Affordable Housing Deal” from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

PRA and City Officials Announce the Release of the Lower Eastwick Public Land Strategy

Strategy concludes two-year study, combining extensive research and community input
March 25, 2019
Today, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and the City of Philadelphia release the Lower Eastwick Public Land Strategy. This report marks the conclusion of a two-year endeavor.  The report had two two goals: 1) empower Eastwick residents through an inclusive process to shape the future of their community; and 2) provide a framework for responsible land use decisions to build a resilient neighborhood.

“While this Strategy is a major step forward, we still have a long way to go toward implementing its recommendations,” said Gregory Heller, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. “Our promise to the community is that every step will continue to engage and empower the residents of Eastwick through an inclusive process. And every step will be made with a primary focus on neighborhood resilience.”

“I am pleased with the recommendations in this report,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, 2nd District.  “Eastwick residents have various needs and ideas, all while dealing with serious environment realities.  This report has done a great job of engaging residents, and coming up with a plan that respects the community, and the land.  From community space and jobs to open space and commercial properties, this plan covers it all.”

“Many thanks to the members of the Steering Committee, Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Interface Studios, and all of the public agencies that worked on this initiative, and foremost, the residents of Eastwick who took part in this process to shape a positive future for your community. We look forward to continuing to work with you all in the months ahead,” said Heller.

City Officials And Partners Announce New Home Repair Loan Program

Providing Low Interest Home Repair Loans for Working Philadelphians

March 13, 2019
Today City officials announce the new Restore Repair Renew (RRR) program.  This program is a partnership between the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) and nonprofit service providers to offer affordable home repair loans of up to $24,999 to eligible homeowners.“Today is a great day for middle income individuals and families in the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “We understand that there are some families that work every day, and still need assistance in maintaining and preserving their home.  These Philadelphians may not be able to qualify for a traditional home repair loan, and may need some assistance. The Philadelphia Neighborhood Home Preservation Loan Program, better known as Restore, Repair, Renew or RRR, is the answer.”

Restore Repair Renew was proposed by Council, and created by PRA.  This program is in support of the City’s goal of creating and preserving affordable, quality homes in neighborhoods where the markets are rapidly changing, and in stable neighborhoods at risk of decline.  part of a wide-ranging effort to increase housing security for low-income people, working-class families, and seniors.

“The Restore Repair Renew program is a critical part of Council’s strategic plan to support equitable growth and inclusive neighborhoods throughout the City of Philadelphia,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) said. “People with lower incomes shouldn’t pay proportionately more for basic home repairs and modifications, yet many do when the only financing options available to them are precious savings or high-interest credit cards. I’m grateful to our lending and nonprofit partners who recognize that people’s ability to maintain their homes and age in place helps keep neighborhoods stable and primed for investment.”

PRA selected three program intermediaries and two lenders to support this program. Clarifi, Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement (PCCA), and Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) are the program intermediaries.

“For too long, government has overlooked the ‘middle’ — homeowners in working-class neighborhoods who are not poor enough for grant programs but who are also denied loans by big banks. I am proud to have been able to take the lead on behalf of the City Council of Philadelphia in helping to design Restore Repair Renew with these households, along with all Philadelphians, in mind. This program provides an affordable tool for residents in middle neighborhoods and throughout our great city to preserve their most prized asset – their home. In order to stabilize neighborhoods, we need to invest in them now. As we know, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”

“Clarifi is one of three intermediaries that will be providing direct services to homeowners for the RRR program,” said Jill Roberts, Executive Director, Healthy RowHouse Project. “Over our 53-history, Clarifi has delivered budget, credit and housing counseling, financial education workshops and a comprehensive continuum of outcome-driven financial capability services. The program was a perfect fit for our agency, and the clients we serve.”

“PCCA’s long-term commitment to the revitalization of City and surrounding counties and the economic wellbeing of the people we serve was the perfect fit for planning, testing, implementation, and participation in the Restore, Repair, and Renew program,” said Alfredo de la Peña, President of PCCA and CEO of Mission First Housing Group. “We are looking forward to the launch of this program.”

“There is an undeniable correlation between physical and mental health and financial stability,” said Richard J. Cohen, President and Chief Executive Officer of PHMC. “Helping individuals access the funds to improve the safety and quality of their homes increases individual wellness, stabilizes neighborhoods and supports overall community health. We are proud to partner with the City and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority to assist local homeowners to maintain and improve one of their most important assets.”  

The two lenders selected to take part are Univest and FINANTA.

“Univest Bank and Trust Co. is excited to serve as a partner for the Restore, Repair, Renew program,” said Dana Brown, Executive Vice President of Consumer Banking for Univest. “Since entering the city in 2015, Univest continues to expand its presence in Philadelphia and a large part of those efforts is to support programs and organizations that are making a difference in local communities across the city. The RRR program is a perfect fit with our mission which challenges us to be a strong leader in our markets and to be active in our communities.”

“We are thrilled to be a partner of the Restore, Repair, Renew Philadelphia Home Preservation Loan Program and to be able to provide an affordable home repair financing option for Philadelphia home owners,” said Michael Alles, Vice President of Lending for FINANTA

City of Philadelphia, PRA, and City Council Celebrate the Ribbon-Cutting of 16 Workforce Housing Homes

February 27, 2019

The City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and City Council work developers, Mo Rushdy and Larry McKnight of The Riverwards Group, celebrate the ribbon-cutting of the Francisville Workforce Housing project, located on Parrish Street between 15th and 16th streets.

These 16 homes are three-bedroom units being sold for $229,990. Each unit has spacious private backyards, a 10-year tax abatement, and no condo or HOA fees.

“Affordable Housing for working class homeowners is so important,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “As neighborhoods across the City continue to change and grow, it is imperative to have housing for Philadelphians at all income levels. Philadelphia’s Workforce Housing Initiative was designed to leverage the value of publicly-owned land to create housing opportunities that will be affordable to households within a certain income level. This is a necessary part of the affordable housing creation model, and I look forward to more developments like this across the city.”

“We are honored to have been the developer on this project,” said Mo Rushdy of the Riverwards Group. “Because the requirements for workforce housing states that buyers must earn no more than $73,000 to qualify, this gives many more Philadelphians the chance to live in a great neighborhood like Francisville. These houses won’t be “flipped” and local residents get to stay in their neighborhood. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

“Our Workforce Housing Initiative is just one example of how cities can leverage existing assets to shore up their core strengths: diverse neighborhoods populated by working people who can raise families and plan for retirement in comfort,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke, 5th District said. “A strong housing market should not be frightening; rather, it should provide benefits that make our neighborhoods better, more welcoming places for all. I am grateful to all of our partners here who are committed to ensuring that the City of Philadelphia continues to manage growth in a fair and responsible way, with the goal of making every neighborhood a community of choice.”

“Francisville Workforce Housing development is a perfect example of how the private sector, teaming up with the public sector, can provide a good product (single family homes) at great pricing for hard-working, working class families,” said Larry McKinght of the Riverwards Group said “This isn’t the first time that The Riverwards Group participated in this great program. In fact, we did the first workforce housing development for the city two years ago and now Francisville is next. We want to do our fair share of giving back to this great city and can’t wait to do more when provided the opportunity.”

“I always wanted to buy a house in the neighborhood I grew up in, but I couldn’t afford it,” said first time Fransville homebuyer LaTonya McDaniels. “When I heard about this workforce housing development, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”

Another new homebuyer Kris Johnson said that he had rented until now. “To become a homeowner is something very special,” Johnson said.

PRA Expands Financing for Workforce Housing

Construction Loan Guarantee Gives Developers the Tools They Need to Build Middle-Income Housing

February 5, 2019 – PHILADELPHIA-The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) announces the expansion of the Workforce Housing Credit Enhancement —a loan guarantee that helps developers finance much-needed middle-income housing developments in rapidly appreciating neighborhoods.

The Workforce Housing (“WFH”) Program is a City initiative that promotes the development of housing for middle-income households (between 80% to 120% of Area Median Income).

“Affordable housing is a top priority for me,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The Workforce Housing program was created to help maintain affordability for hardworking Philadelphians like teachers, firefighters, police officers, and others who work every day, and want to live in neighborhoods that are becoming unaffordable for their budgets. I appreciate this effort, and am looking forward to the impact it can make on our great City.”

The City’s Housing Action Plan cites a need for 11,500 units of Workforce Housing over the next decade. PRA, which already offers financing for affordable housing at lower income levels, created this credit enhancement to allow developers to build Workforce Housing to help fill the gap in this missing middle of the housing spectrum. To date, the Workforce Housing program has resulted in 142 units of housing that has been completed or in development.

“At our core, Philadelphia is a city of workers, so we must do everything we can to ensure our neighborhoods remain accessible and inclusive – particularly in times of sharp high-end real estate growth. Supporting workforce housing is critical to our goal of shared health and prosperity across our city,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke, 5th District. “This program will ensure that our city continues to welcome and celebrate working class people. In a time of ever greater inequities, we are working to make Philadelphia stand out as a superior place to live, work, and plan for the future.”

In February 2017, PRA tested a pilot credit enhancement in partnership with the Philadelphia Land Bank (PLB). Based on the success of that pilot, PRA is now expanding the credit enhancement to make it more widely available. The credit enhancement is now available to support the financing of any workforce housing within Philadelphia, for-sale or rental, that is built on land acquired from PRA, PLB, or Philadelphia Department of Public Property (DPP).

“Our goal is to partner with the private sector to come up with creative solutions that allow the market to build the kind of housing that our city needs,” said Gregory Heller, Executive Director of the PRA, “This partial loan guarantee helps developers to build, and banks to finance workforce housing, while ensuring that our scarce public resources can go as far as possible.”

“Working with the PRA and the Philadelphia Land Bank has been great,” explains Max Frankel, Frankel Enterprises. “Our Workforce Housing project in the West Poplar section of the City was possible because of this financing model. I am looking forward to working with PRA and the City on future projects.”

A full description and necessary requirements for developers to access Workforce Housing Credit Enhancement are on this website.

Maguire Residence Breaks Ground – Housing for People Recovering From Addiction

The Maguire Residence project will involve the adaptive reuse and substantial rehabilitation of the existing old Frances Willard School a four-story, mid-rise two elevator building. The gross building area is 50,902+ GSF. There will be forty-two (42) low-income housing units, which will consist of thirty (30) efficiency units and twelve (12) one-bedroom units with fifteen (15) units receiving HOME funds. Each unit will have its own private kitchen and bathroom. There will be eleven (11) parking spaces. All units will be visitable with six (6) accessible units, and two (2) units for persons with hearing and vision disability. The residents will be provided assistance with employment, education, health care-related services, as well as case management, life skills, and community-building activities. Five (5) units will be set aside for persons at or below 20% of the Area Median Income (AMI), seventeen (17) units at 50% AMI, and twenty (20) units at 60% AMI. The units will be targeted to homeless adult men, women and persons with special needs.

In addition, the project includes the new construction of a 1-story, 1,208± SF, rectangular lobby. The lobby will serve as the accessible entry to the building, which is necessary for the viability of the project. The addition provides for necessary lobby space without compromising any of the existing historic configuration of the 1st floor.

The project will receive Annual Contribution Contract operating subsidies from the Philadelphia Housing Authority to support the rents for twenty-seven (27) units.  The City of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services will provide rental subsidies through the Continuum of Care for fifteen (15) efficiency units.

PRA is providing a non-recourse construction/permanent mortgage in the amount up to $2,000,000.

Read the news articles:


Mayor Kenney Celebrates First Rebuild Groundbreaking, Parkside Fields

December 13, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney today joined City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and other City officials to celebrate the first groundbreaking for Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) which took place at Parkside Fields. Rebuild, made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, is Mayor Jim Kenney’s initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries throughout the city.

This groundbreaking marks the first Rebuild project to enter the construction phase. Most Rebuild projects have been delayed due to a court case challenging the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. In July, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the tax which allowed the City to issue bonds for Rebuild and for the initiative to begin. Other projects that will begin soon include Vare Recreation CenterOlney Recreation CenterFrank Glavin Memorial Playground (also known as A&W Playground), and Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, all of which will launch in early 2019 starting with community engagement and design.

“For too long we have under-resourced our public spaces,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Today marks an important step in changing that narrative. Now that the Beverage Tax has been upheld, we can make this investment in our neighborhoods. But this isn’t just an investment in a field. This is an investment in our residents and the future of this community. There are many more groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, and celebrations to come. Our residents have waited long enough and the time has come to provide them with the high-quality facilities they deserve.”

The Parkside Fields project, which is being managed by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority on behalf of Rebuild, will create two new public athletic fields that will serve the Parkside community in West Philadelphia, including the schools and sports programs in and around the neighborhood. The Parkside Fields project will be completed in two phases. The first phase of the project, where construction is beginning, will convert a grassy area on Parkside Avenue into a practice field. The second phase, which is currently being designed, will renovate a second field for football and soccer games.

“I was a strong supporter of Rebuild from day one,” said Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. “The opportunity to provide new recreation space in the 4th District is critical for the growth and development of area youth. Area schools will now have a field to call their own. Not every kid will have a chance to go to Disney World but they should have access to a clean, modern and safe recreation space. I am incredibly excited that the first Rebuild project will be right here in the 4th District.”

In addition to the benefits that the new fields will bring to the community, the project will also advance Rebuild’s goals for diversity and inclusion. The project is expected to meet Rebuild’s goals for participation of minority-owned businesses and exceed the goals for participation of woman-owned businesses.

“The promise of Rebuild goes beyond fixing our parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Nicole Westerman, executive director for Rebuild. “This historic investment allows us to provide diverse businesses – which are often underrepresented on public works projects — with opportunities to strengthen and grow their businesses through work on Rebuild projects.”

Last month, the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) issued bonds for Rebuild on behalf of the City. The issuance provided $85.6 million in funding for Rebuild and represented the first of three expected borrowings for the initiative, all of which are made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. The new funding will allow for more projects to start across Philadelphia in the coming months.

“The Parkside Fields project will radically improve the quality of athletic opportunities for Parkside residents, youth sports leagues, and students from nearby schools,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Kathryn Ott Lovell. “This first Rebuild groundbreaking is a watershed moment not just for the Parkside community, but for all Philadelphians. It marks the beginning of a surge of significant capital and community investments at Parks & Recreation facilities across the city, a surge that is long overdue.”

Community members and businesses interested in receiving project updates, event notifications, or contracting opportunities can sign up for Rebuild’s email list and visit the Rebuild website.

Frankel Enterprises Begins Construction on The West Poplar Homes

Monday, November 26 at 11:00 am

Plans for 26 Single Family Workforce Homes Unveiled

Frankel Enterprises unveils plans for The West Poplar Homes, workforce housing development comprised of 26 single family homes priced below $230,000, at North 11th and Wallace Streets in the West Poplar neighborhood.  In partnership with Philadelphia Land Bank, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Frankel Enterprises is committed to creating quality housing opportunities for Philadelphia residents.

The West Poplar Homes will feature modern red-brick façades, reflecting the contextual design of the surrounding neighborhood while offering contemporary amenities and conveniences.  The energy efficient three-bedroom, two-bath homes will include stainless steel appliances, sleek fixtures as well as patios and private rear yards. Mural Arts Philadelphia, in conjunction with local residents, will create community-focused public art to echo neighborhood values.

“Investing in Philadelphia’s future has always been paramount to our mission. The West Poplar Homes have a special significance for our company, as we emphasize our focus on opportunities in this city. I am thrilled to partner with Philadelphia Land Bank, while working with City Council President Darrell Clarke to ensure working families have an opportunity to afford high quality housing in their community,” explains Zachary Frankel.

“The Philadelphia Land Bank is excited to partner with Frankel Enterprises to develop over 20 units of workforce housing,” said Angel Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Land Bank. “This development helps place City-owned land back into productive use, while increasing the city’s housing stock. Workforce housing is vital to keeping our communities affordable for working individuals and families in great communities such as West Poplar.”

The West Poplar Homes signify a reenergized focus by Frankel Enterprises in real estate development in Philadelphia. Max Frankel and Zachary Frankel will lead the company’s strategic efforts in the region. Construction financing for the project was provided by The Reinvestment Fund with credit enhancement by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

“These 26 new homes will help ensure working families can continue to plant roots in Philly neighborhoods experiencing price appreciation,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who represents the 5th District and has long championed increasing the City’s affordable housing stock. “Everybody deserves quality, affordable housing, and a chance to achieve economic stability to support child-rearing and plan ahead for retirement. I’m thankful for all of our partners in this endeavor, including Frankel Enterprises, who agree that balanced, equitable growth is not just the right thing to do, it’s the best way to ensure Philadelphia’s long-term health and prosperity.”

Frankel Enterprises will host an informational community meeting on the evening of December 13th at St. Paul’s Baptist Church located at 1000 Wallace Street for residents to learn more about how to qualify for workforce housing as well as lending opportunities. To learn more about The West Poplar Homes, email, call 267-571-8519 or visit

“It is an exciting time to develop in Philadelphia,” explains Max Frankel. “Our family has a rich history of building high quality homes to last generations and we are thrilled to partner with the City of Philadelphia to reactivate vacant property to build high quality homes for working families.”

About Frankel Enterprises

Founded in 1936 by E.J. Frankel, whose work ethic, integrity and creativity launched major projects in Philadelphia, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio and South Florida. Today, Frankel Enterprises is a fourth-generation, family owned real estate development company incorporating planning, financing and construction into an efficient development process. The company is widely recognized for building luxury communities in Florida as well as a legacy of Philadelphia development including The Warwick Condominiums, Kennedy House, William Penn House and 1845 Walnut Street.

About Philadelphia Land Bank

In December 2013, Philadelphia City Council passed and Mayor Nutter signed legislation creating the Philadelphia Land Bank (Land Bank) Since that time it has achieved numerous milestones that improve access to blighted properties for redevelopment purposes. As of July 2016 the Land Bank started acquiring vacant, tax delinquent properties at tax foreclosure sale. In FY18, the Land Bank will continue to align its goals to the goals of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Planning and Development. This will ensure that acquisition and disposition actions support the need for affordable, workforce and market-rate rental and homeownership opportunities in Philadelphia as well as expand green space as side yards or community gardens and support commercial and economic development. The proposed acquisition processes and program criteria will lead to a more transparent Land Bank and elevated levels of production.

Roberto Clemente Homes Celebrate Ribbon Cutting

Wednesday, November 14 at 1:00 pm

Creating an opportunity community in north Philadelphia

Esperanza hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly renovated Roberto Clemente Homes (3921-61 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140) at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14. The ceremony, which took place at the former Roberto Clemente Middle School building, celebrated the completion of a year-long transformation in which the structure was converted into 38 units of affordable rental housing and 5,000 square feet of new commercial space.

“We’re very happy that PHA (Philadelphia Housing Authority) has partnered with us to create a much-needed development in the Latino community. I’m excited for the families that will breathe new life into this historical building.” said Rev. Luis Cortés, Jr., Founder, President and CEO of Esperanza.

Speakers included baseball broadcaster and former professional baseball player Roberto Clemente Jr.; Councilwoman Maria Quiñónes-Sanchez; Brian Hudson, Executive Director and CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; and Kelvin Jeremiah, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

This project completes the transformation of a facility that had previously offered employment and educational opportunities to the neighborhood but had over the years become vacant and blighted. “It will now once again become a community asset, providing quality, affordable housing to Hunting Park residents,” said David Ortiz, Esperanza’s Vice President of Housing & Economic Development.

Esperanza is grateful to the many partners who have collaborated with us on this project, including the City of Philadelphia – Division of Housing and Community Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, M&T Bank, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, PZS Architects, Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, PNC Bank, the Reinvestment Fund, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Esperanza is a national community-based organization founded in 1987 by Rev. Luis Cortés and the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity with the biblical mandate to serve and advocate for “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). Beginning with a local initiative, with programs targeted to address the unmet needs of North Philadelphia’s Hispanic community, Rev. Cortes is now sought by national and international leaders alike on issues of economic and workforce development, housing, immigration, and education. Under his leadership, Esperanza has grown from a small 20- person operation to a $40 million organization with more than 450 employees.

Nelson Playground Groundbreaking

Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 pm
2500-34 N 3rd Street

Speaking Program

  • Orlando Rendon, Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
  • Councilwoman María Quiñones Sánchez
  • Robert LaBrum, Director, Design and Construction, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Ceremonial dirt toss to follow speaking program

City, Community Celebrate Ribbon-cutting of Anthony Wayne Senior Housing Phase III

Ribbon-cutting for 45 Affordable Units Coming to Grays Ferry

September 25, 2018
Department of Housing and Community Development’s Melissa Long and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson joined the Altman Group of Companies to celebrate the ribbon-cutting of Anthony Wayne Senior Housing Phase III. The new senior housing development is located at the northeast corner of South 28th and Pierce Streets in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia.

Anthony Wayne Phase III provides affordable rental housing to those 62 and older. The development offers 34 one-bedroom apartments and 11 two-bedroom apartments. It is accessible via public transportation and is also near several retail centers, emergency services, a post office, and medical care.

“At DHCD, we work tirelessly to maximize our resources to create more affordable housing for our seniors in Philadelphia,” said Melissa Long. “Safe, affordable and accessible housing and services are critical, and Anthony Wayne III meets those needs.

“Anthony Wayne III keeps seniors in their community,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. “The affordable development is another great addition to the neighborhood and builds a sense of unity among people of all ages in the neighborhood.”

The development is available to low-and moderate-income households. Each resident can access onsite services provided by the Philadelphia Senior Center.  Six of the bedroom units are fully accessible and each unit meets visibility standards.

Every unit is equipped with Energy Star Appliances, low flow water fixtures, and low VOC paint to help reduce impact on the environment. The building is designed using Passive House Design features. The building was developed by the Altman Group’s development entity, Elon Development Co. Inc. It was built by Elon’s affiliated construction firm, Allied Construction Services.

“Anthony Wayne III is the last phase to complete the city block, and brings the total to 130 units of decent, safe and senior affordable housing”, said Francis Vargas Vice President of Elon Development Company.  “That is something to be proud of.”

“The Altman Group is pleased that our time, resources and investments support seniors and this South Philadelphia community. said Brett Altman, a principal of the Altman Group. “Anthony Wayne Senior Housing is the result of many years of hard work and the public and private sectors working together for one common goal.”

The City of Philadelphia provided $1.5 million for the development.  An additional $12.5 million was leveraged in private equity provided by Hudson Housing Capital and Capital One through the purchase of Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority is underwriting the financing of the development. The Department of Planning and Development’s Development Services division also assisted with the construction process. Altman Group also worked collaboratively with Grays Ferry Community Council.

Centennial Village Opens and Transforms West Parkside

Ribbon cutting and opening of mixed-use development

August 23, 2018
The City of Philadelphia, Community Ventures and Parkside Association of Philadelphia celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Centennial Village, Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. on the 1700 block of N. 52nd Street. Centennial Village provides 51 units of affordable housing and 7,227 square feet of commercial space. Community members, City and State officials, project funders, and Centennial Village new residents were in attendance.

“The completion of Centennial Village is an pivotal part of the revitalization efforts in the Parkside community,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “This project eliminated a large area of blight, and brought more affordable housing units to our city. Projects like these impact levels of crime, property values, and community pride.  The new apartments, homes, and commercial spaces showcase the City’s continuous commitment to invest in Philadelphia neighborhoods.”

“Centennial Village has transformed the vicinity of 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue.  The project rejuvenated 44 formerly vacant and blights lots and buildings into a vibrant new neighborhood anchor,” said David La Fontaine, Community Ventures’ Executive Director. “The opening of Centennial Village is the culmination of almost a decade of planning and acquisition, years of funding applications, and a twenty-month construction process. We have partnered with Parkside Association of Philadelphia over the past twenty years to build multiple phases of affordable housing in the community.  We look forward to discussing the next project.”

“Parkside Association has been working to build and preserve this West Park Community since 1997,” said Lucinda Hudson, Parkside Association of Philadelphia’s Executive Director and long-time community advocate. “The Shopping Center was one milestone.  In partnership with Community Ventures, the housing renovation project was the next milestone.  Now we are so proud to have partnered with Community Ventures again for this latest residential and commercial project, Centennial Village.  This will further the growth of West Parkside area. Thank God!  God willing more projects will be coming to the West Parkside area.”

The ribbon cutting included food provided by Star Fusion Express “Home of the Specialty Wing & Spring Roll Bar”, which will be opening in the former Parkside Inn at 5178 Parkside Avenue in the next few months.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority provided financing and project oversight.

About Centennial Village

Centennial Village features new housing and mixed-use buildings on both sides of N. 52nd Street including a 30-unit apartment building, a mixed-use building with six residential units and two commercial spaces, the renovation of the former Parkside Inn on the corner of 52nd & Parkside and the renovation or new construction of seven single-family homes and one duplex.

The commercial space includes 7,227 square feet across three buildings along N. 52nd Street and connects the WestPark Town Center to Parkside Avenue and Fairmount Park. Two commercial tenants have already been identified.

Centennial Village is made possible through the financing from City of Philadelphia, Division of Housing & Community Development, Department of Commerce, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, West Philadelphia Empowerment Zone, PNC Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Housing Authority and Reinvestment Fund.

Lower Eastwick Public Land Strategy Posted for Public Comment

July 26, 2018
The final meeting for the Lower Eastwick Public Land Strategy was held on July 26, 2018. The Strategy’s Recommendations can be viewed here:  July 26 2018 Final Public Meeting Recommendations

community survey was distributed at the meeting to collect input on the process and will be open to the public through August 31, 2018.

PRA will be accepting comments on the Strategy’s Recommendations for 90 days or until October 31, 2018.

PIDC Announces $6M Impact Development Fund in Partnership with PRA

May 2, 2018
PIDC’s new Impact Development Fund, in partnership with Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, provides new capital for neighborhood-based development, driving revitalization in communities that can often be overlooked by traditional lenders and often need that investment most. Read more about this new program here on PIDC’s website.


City of Philadelphia Announces New Executive Director for Philadelphia Land Bank

August 2017

Today the Land Bank appointed Angel Rodriguez the Executive Director of the Land Bank. As Executive Director, Mr. Rodriguez will oversee the strategic redevelopment of Philadelphia’s publicly owned surplus vacant property. This includes facilitating programs and processes that increase affordable housing, economic development, reduction of blight, and community gardens.

Mr. Rodriguez currently serves as the Vice President of Community Economic Development for Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM). His responsibilities include managing APM’s housing development in Eastern North Philadelphia, community outreach efforts, Financial Opportunity Center (FOC), and the Sustainable Communities Initiative. He currently is on the Housing Advisory Board of Philadelphia and the board of the Food Trust. Mr. Rodriguez sat on the Land Bank Board prior to his appointment.

“Angel has extensive experience turning vacant land into productive uses,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Philadelphia. “His background in economic development, affordable housing, and community outreach will be invaluable to the Land Bank.”

“I am excited to have found a new way to make a difference for people and communities in Philadelphia,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “I look forward to working with the dedicated professionals working to repurpose land and transform neighborhoods across Philadelphia.”

Mr. Rodriguez starts as Executive Director on September 11, 2017.

Three new board members have also been appointed to the board by Mayor Kenney. They are Dominique Casimir, Deputy Director for Real Estate in the Department of Public Property; Christian Dunbar, Deputy City Treasurer; and Lauren Vidas of the South of South Neighborhood Association.

“Dominique, Christian and Lauren bring experience in property disposition, finance and neighborhood issues to the board,” said Anne Fadullon. “Their expertise will be invaluable as the Land Bank continues to ramp up its activity.”

The new board members will replace Fred Purnell, Anjali Chainani and Anna Shipp. Mr. Rodriguez will resign his board position prior to the September board meeting. City Council will appoint a replacement.

City Officials Celebrate New Workforce Housing In Fast-Growing East Poplar

First Housing Completed Under City Council Plan to Ensure Balanced Growth in Gentrifying Neighborhoods

May 24, 2017 
Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Greg Heller, and representatives of BMK Properties on Wednesday celebrated the completed construction of new Workforce Housing in the increasingly desirable East Poplar neighborhood in North Philadelphia.

BMK Properties, a subsidiary of The Riverwards Group, has redeveloped vacant City-owned land to construct 13 single-family homes that are affordable to moderate-income households. BMK Properties is one of several developers participating in City Council’s Workforce Housing Initiative, which seeks to expand affordable housing opportunities in gentrifying neighborhoods and spark new construction in “middle neighborhoods” struggling to attract investment.

Council President Clarke thanked the partners involved in the East Poplar Workforce Housing development for showing a commitment to diversity and opportunity in gentrifying communities.

“In 2014, I challenged the City of Philadelphia and the home building industry to come together and find a way to make sure our real estate boom benefits as many residents as possible. The Workforce Housing Initiative was designed to incentivize equitable, balanced growth, in order to avoid the economic and racial segregation that so often is associated with gentrification,” Council President Clarke said. “Today, these beautiful and affordable new homes are being sold to hard-working and moderate-income workers, who are truly the backbone of Philadelphia’s economy. Thank you to all who share Council’s vision for ensuring every Philadelphian is able to live in a community of choice.”

“This project is a powerful example of how the public sector can partner with the private sector to address pressing issues facing our communities,” said PRA Executive Director Greg Heller. “This project was built without any public subsidy other than a discount on the price of the land. Through this public-private partnership we can ensure a range of affordable housing in every community, bring blighted land back into active use, and allow the private sector to innovate in building high-quality, affordable homes. BMK has been a great partner and this project is truly a win for all involved.”

Eligible buyers must have household incomes below 120 percent of area median income (AMI). For a family of three in Philadelphia, AMI is approximately $88,050, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. Buyers of Workforce Housing are prohibited from re-selling homes for more than the original sale price for 10 years. In addition to East Poplar, construction of new Workforce Housing in consultation with the PRA is ongoing in rapidly appreciating real estate markets such as those located in Point Breeze and Francisville.

“BMK Properties is proud to partner with the City of Philadelphia to ensure hardworking people continue to have opportunities to live in great neighborhoods close to good jobs, public transportation, and schools,” said Mo Rushdy of BMK Properties. “The Workforce Housing Initiative is a great example of how the private sector, housing agencies, and City Council are working together to make Philadelphia an even more attractive place to live and work.”

The new Workforce homes in East Poplar were developed by BMK Properties and are being sold with assistance from Meridian Bank and Houwzer, a brokerage firm. The homes range from 1,100 to 1,200 square feet; are a mix of two-story and three-story; have a minimum of three bedrooms; have 92 percent energy efficient HVAC systems and hot water heaters; come with Energy Star appliances; and are covered by a one-year builder guarantee. Monthly mortgage costs for the homes range from approximately $1,000 to $1,400.

City Officials Celebrate New Martin Luther King Older Adult Center in North Philadelphia

April 25, 2017
Mayor Jim Kenney, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Commissioner of Parks & Recreation Kathryn Ott Lovell and other City officials joined community leaders and senior citizens to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new facility for the Martin Luther King Older Adult Center in central North Philadelphia.  The 10,000 square foot building is located on the corner of 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

“This beautiful new state-of-the-art facility is exactly what the seniors of this community need,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell.  “I want to thank all of the staff, architects, contractors and designers involved to make this a reality. I especially want to thank Mayor Kenney, Managing Director DiBerardinis and Council President Clarke for their vision and tenacity in getting us here today.”

The facility features a large lunchroom and commercial kitchen, a billiards room, a multipurpose room, and classrooms for art, fitness and computers.  The construction process utilized sustainable practices and materials including an energy-efficient HVAC system and lighting.

The total cost of the project was roughly $4.3 million, with Council President Clarke’s office contributing more than half of the funding for the project.  The City of Philadelphia, the Department of Parks & Recreation and Project H.O.M.E. are contributing the remainder of the necessary funding. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) managed the construction and development of the project. PRA also owns the land, and is transferring it to the Department of Parks & Recreation.

“This center was designed with our seniors in mind,” said Mayor Kenney. “As active citizens that are a part of the fabric of our great City, our seniors deserve a modern and innovative facility.  This project is another great example of City agencies working together with the community-from my administration, City Council, PRA, and Department of Parks and Recreation, and North Philadelphia community-we all worked together to make this happen.”

“The wonderful seniors served by the former MLK Older Adult Center were not shy about advocating for this necessary overhaul. They deserve so much credit for this day,” said Council President Clarke. “The new MLK Older Adult Center is truly reflective of the vibrancy and fellowship of this community. I am grateful to our seniors for their persistence and patience, and also thank our partner City agencies for a job well done.”

“With this partnership between PRA and the Department of Parks & Recreation we set a new standard for how we can efficiently build public facilities to improve the quality of life in our communities,” said Gregory Heller, Executive Director of PRA. “We look forward to future partnerships where PRA’s construction professionals lead the way in renovating our recreation centers, parks, playgrounds, and other important civic spaces.”

PRA Announces Developer For Osage Pine Project

April 18, 2017
PHILADELPHIA, PA-April 18, 2017-The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) announces AJR Endeavors, LLC to develop and restore housing on the 6200 blocks of Osage Avenue and Pine Street in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia.

There were two submissions to the Request for Proposal (RFP) that PRA placed in December of 2016. After reviewing the proposals, PRA selected the team led by AJR Endeavors, LLC. AJR has a strong track record and experience working in Philadelphia communities.

AJR has successfully developed a significant number of projects in West Philadelphia. This project will rehabilitate all 36 properties for homeownership within 18-24 months of starting construction.

“The AJR team has experience renovating and selling homes in Philadelphia, the financing and capacity to do this project the right way—with a high standard of work, and with sensitivity to the neighbors and community,” said Greg Heller, Executive Director of PRA. “The PRA will work closely with Councilwoman Blackwell’s office and the development team to make sure that the community is engaged throughout the development process.”

“PRA, City Council, and city officials understand the tragic events that took place on the blocks of Osage and Pine,” said Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. “We needed a developer who is sensitive to the complexities of the project and the community dynamics. Restoring these homes is a difficult task, but it is the right one, and the one the community wanted.  We will continue to work together throughout this process.”

“This is not an easy project by any stretch of the imagination, but we are going to do it right,” said AJR Endeavors, LLC. “We owe it to the residents of this community so that we can all finally move on from the events of the past that have left a scar on this neighborhood for too long.”

“I am looking forward to the next chapter of Osage and Pine,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “New homeowners can join this strong community to create their own part of history.  The City, PRA, and the Councilwoman support the developer’s community engagement commitment, and we will work together to keep residents informed as the development progresses.”

The total development cost is about $3.2 million. This project qualifies for the PRA’s Fine Art program that requires developers to contribute one percent of their project costs to a public work of art.

Philadelphia City Council Approves 2017 Land Bank Strategic Plan

March 2017

The Philadelphia City Council approved the Philadelphia Land Bank’s 2017 Strategic Plan today. With the approval the Land Bank’s revised acquisition and disposition policies will take effect.

The Strategic Plan analyzes market conditions and resident needs and identifies opportunities where publicly owned land can support housing, green space and other reuses. It can be found HERE.

“City Council, along with the advocacy community, were critical partners in developing the Strategic Plan,” said Anne Fadullon, director of the City’s Office of Planning and Development. “With Council’s support we look forward to implementing the Plan.”

The Strategic Plan includes a target for the acquisition of 1,650 privately owned tax delinquent parcels over the next five years. These parcels will in turn be conveyed to new owners for affordable and market-rate housing, business expansions, community gardens and side yards.

Over those same five years the Land Bank will seek to return nearly 2,000 properties to productive use. More than 1,200 of those properties are expected to become homes, with nearly 650 targeted to lower-income Philadelphians.

“This strategic plan articulates City Council’s goals to allow residents to acquire vacant properties that they have maintained for years,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, who introduced and sponsored Council’s resolution to approve the plan. “We will revitalize our neighborhoods by transforming these blighted spaces into productive use.”

“The Strategic Plan strikes an appropriate balance between economic development, affordable housing and green spaces,” said Council President Darrell Clarke, who cosponsored the resolution. “This year the Land Bank has already disposed of properties for these uses and approved sales worth more than $1 million. This Plan will continue that momentum.”

The approved acquisition policy outlines the criteria for the Land Bank to acquire vacant tax delinquent parcels for redevelopment, side yards, business expansion, affordable housing and other neighborhood uses. The disposition policy covers buyer eligibility, redevelopment expectations, pricing, sales processes and community garden criteria.

“A key goal of this Strategic Plan is transparency,” said Fadullon. “We want everyone to understand how the Land Bank operates, and we’re grateful to Council for their support in this effort.”

In addition to approving the Strategic Plan, Council today introduced legislation to reduce Land Bank operating costs, streamline Land Bank lease procedures and reduce costs for developers acquiring Land Bank property for affordable housing and homeowners acquiring low-cost side yards. The legislation is cosponsored by Councilwoman Sánchez and Council President Clarke.

Philadelphia Land Bank Board Approves 2017 Strategic Plan

January 2017

The Philadelphia Land Bank Board has approved the Land Bank’s 2017 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan will now be submitted to City Council for its consideration. The Strategic Plan analyzes market conditions and resident needs and identifies opportunities where publicly owned land can support housing, green space and other reuses, and can be found HERE.

“The 2017 Strategic Plan provides goals for the Land Bank and guidance to those who will do business with it,” said Anne Fadullon, director of the City’s Office of Planning and Development. “Our goals include targets for the acquisition and disposition of properties.”

The Strategic Plan includes a target for the acquisition of 1,650 privately owned tax delinquent parcels over the next five years. These parcels will in turn be conveyed to new owners for affordable and market-rate housing, business expansions, community gardens and side yards. At the Jan. 19 meeting, the Land Bank Board approved the Strategic Plan and approved the first sale of a property acquired via Sheriff’s sale for a business expansion.

Over the next five years, the Land Bank will seek to return nearly 2,000 properties to productive use. More than 1,200 of those properties are expected to become homes, with nearly 650 targeted to lower-income Philadelphians.

“We heard from the public about the need for affordable, accessible housing and we listened,” said Tania Nikolic, interim executive director of the Land Bank. “After recieving public input, we doubled our goal of properties targeted for the lowest income families.”

The Strategic Plan also includes other elements to support property reuse. The Land Bank’s new acquisition policy specifies when properties can be acquired, and the disposition policy enables long-term or permanent property use for community gardens.

“The acquisition and disposition policies support the goals set out in the plan,” said Nikolic. “The policies provide clarity on the reuse of parcels so that people looking to acquire properties know what they can and can’t do.”

Under the Land Bank ordinance the Strategic Plan is submitted to City Council for its consideration. The Land Bank’s existing Strategic Plan will remain in place until Council approves the new Plan.

December 2016
“Philadelphia Land Bank Issues Strategic Plan 12-22-16” Press Release, December 22, 2016
The Philadelphia Land Bank has issued its 2016 Draft Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan analyzes market conditions and resident needs and identifies opportunities where publicly owned land can support housing, green space and other reuses.


PRA Launches Credit Enhancement for Workforce Housing

The Philadelphia Land Bank recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of 15 currently vacant parcels of land in the West Poplar neighborhood as workforce housing. The goal of the RFP is to facilitate the development of single family houses affordable to households with incomes up to 120% of the area median income. This RFP includes a new element that we hope will increase the ability for lenders to provide construction financing for workforce housing. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, as a partner with the Philadelphia Land Bank, now offers a Credit Enhancement for workforce housing construction loans. This new facility will provide a 25% guarantee directly to the financial institution on construction loans made to developers selected through the Land Bank’s workforce housing RFPs.

The Beginning of a New Era for Germantown YWCA

November 10, 2016
Today the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) announced the developer, KBK Enterprises, for the rehabilitation and purchase of the Germantown YWCA, 5820-24 Germantown Avenue.

“The PRA was impressed by KBK’s proposal for the Germantown YWCA,” said Greg Heller, Executive Director of PRA.  “They have a track record of building quality projects in other cities across the U.S. We are thrilled to welcome a new developer to Philadelphia!”

In July of 2016, PRA issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the rehabilitation of the Germantown YWCA. Proposals were scored on several factors, including project concept, community alignment, developer experience and track record, and the ability to create a community-based economic opportunity plan.

“Our goal is to make Philadelphia business-friendly for both local and national developers,” said Fred Purnell, Deputy Director of the Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  “This developer, while new to Philadelphia, brings a wealth of experience and some interesting approaches to this project.  We are excited to bring a different perspective to Philadelphia’s affordable housing development efforts.”

KBK Enterprises has offices in Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA. KBK is a minority-owned development company that has built over 1,900 units of multi-family, affordable, mixed-income, mixed-use and single family housing. This portfolio represents over $1B of real estate.

The Proposed Project:

KBK’s proposal plans to renovate the Germantown YWCA into 12 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. The income mix will be 50% affordable and 50% market-rate. First two floors will contain commercial space and office space.  The anticipated project completion timeframe is summer of 2019.

“The Germantown YWCA is a critical piece in the puzzle of revitalizing Germantown Avenue.,” said Councilwoman Cindy Bass.  “Once this beautiful community asset is brought back to life, we believe it will catalyze other development and investment along Germantown Avenue.”

“Entering the Philadelphia market is exciting for KBK,” said Keith B. Key, President and CEO of KBK Enterprises. “We are looking forward to working with the City of Philadelphia, PRA, and the community to make our first Philadelphia project a huge success.

City Council must approve the plan/developer. The developer agreement is being finalized.

Governor Wolf Awards $10M Grant to Gallery Redevelopment

September 29, 2016
Governor Tom Wolf announced a $10 million state grant to aid in the redevelopment of the Gallery, Philadelphia’s primary downtown shopping mall, owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) and being redeveloped by PREIT and Macerich under certain redevelopment agreements with the PRA. The $325 million project will transform the site into the new ‘Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia,’ a 730,000 square-foot retail space expected to open in 2018. “This renovation project will serve as powerful economic engine for the City,” Mayor Kenney said. “It will create construction jobs in the short term, retail and office for jobs for the long term and hundreds of millions in tax revenue.”

Read more here:


Mayor Nutter Transfers First Properties to Philadelphia Land Bank

December 9, 2015
Mayor Michael A. Nutter electronically transferred the deeds for 150 properties into the Philadelphia Land Bank’s inventory from the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), the first of approximately 650 PHDC properties that will be transferred to the Philadelphia Land Bank by the end of the year. In total, the Land Bank will receive 225 properties from PHDC this week.

This City Turns Brown Into Green, Just as the Pope Wishes.

National Geographic Magazine, September 25, 2015
“Pope Francis has written eloquently about the human need for green space: ‘We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass, and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.’ He chided cities for providing ‘beautiful and carefully manicured green spaces in so-called safer areas of cities, but not in the more hidden areas where the disposable of society live.’ But when the pope visits Philadelphia this weekend, he will be touring a city that is striving to ensure that its green space extends to all 1.5 million of its citizens . . .”

Divine Lorraine Groundbreaking

September 8, 2015
The PRA is excited to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the Divine Lorraine with the development team.  The PRA participated in the financing of the development by providing a loan and grant to support the historic building’s renovation.  For additional information please read:

Ribbon Cutting for New Pharmacy in North Philadelphia

August 20, 2015

The PRA is excited to celebrate the opening of the new pharmacy at the Stephen Klein Wellness Center at 21st and Cecil B. Moore in North Philadelphia.  The PRA is proud to have supported the project by providing the land.  For more information about this project please visit:

PRA Celebrates Habitat for Humanity Project in Point Breeze

August 20, 2015
On July 22, 2015, the PRA helped welcome the Sylla family to their new home in Point Breeze. Habitat for Humanity built five new homes on the 2300 Blocks of Cross and Greenwich Streets. Please read the following story for more information:

PRA Partners with Councilman O’Neill to Use Conservatorship in the Northeast

July 30, 2015

The PRA in partnership with Councilman O’Neill’s office completed its first conservatorship project in the Northeast.  For the full article please visit the Northeast Times.

PRA Hosts Successful Auction of +100 Publicly Owned Parcels

June 12, 2015

PRA in partnership with Councilman Mark Squilla hosted the first City auction of more than 100 publicly owned parcels.  The PRA was responsible for organizing the auction including the issuance of the RFP, selection of the auction company, coordinating with municipal agencies to finalize property lists and communication with the Councilman’s staff.  As a result over 90 bidders attended the auction where 89 properties were sold with the potential of bringing in over $1.7 million in revenue.  Please see below for additional coverage of the event:

Philadelphia Inquirer:

KYW radio:


Plan Philly Writes About PRA Workforce Housing in East Poplar

March 26, 2015
Plan Philly Article on Workforce Housing in East Poplar

We are excited to see Plan Philly’s article highlighting our workforce housing RFP for East Poplar.  This  long-term vacant strip of Marshall Street will now be reactivated thanks to the Council President’s Office and the PRA.  We look forward to other opportunities to do similar work throughout the City.

PRA drops Dupree condemnation, recommits to Mantua

March 12, 2015

The Mantua section of Philadelphia is a vibrant community.  Cultural amenities, transportation infrastructure and nearby institutions have helped spur recent real estate investment.  However, despite its strengths, Mantua’s poverty rate still hovers at roughly 50%. Public safety, quality education, and unemployment still challenge residents.

Like many underserved communities in Philadelphia, Mantua is also a food desert.  Studies have shown that limited fresh food options contribute to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and have a negative effect on public health.   Residents travel out of their neighborhood to shop at grocery stores, or use corner stores that are often limited in their ability to store and sell fresh produce.  “We are Mantua!”, the Mantua transformation plan that engaged hundreds of community members, strongly indicated residents’ desire and need for healthy food choices.

In an effort to address this issue, in 2006 the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) began working with the Mantua Community Improvement Committee, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and others to bring a grocery store to the neighborhood.  A site located at 36th and Haverford was identified and the process to assemble the development site through condemnation began.  Mr. James Dupree’s art studio was a key parcel to complete this assemblage.

The condemnation of Mr. Dupree’s studio has garnered coverage from nearly every media outlet locally, and some nationally.  In each, Mr. Dupree has described PRA as an agency acting haphazardly, for the sole benefit of a for-profit developer and without concern for the broader community.

I strongly disagree with Mr. Dupree’s characterization of our agency and its intent in acquiring his property.  Bringing fresh, healthy food to Mantua was a desire conveyed to PRA by neighborhood residents, and our efforts were designed to address that request.

Unfortunately, the legal costs associated with Mr. Dupree’s appeals make it impossible to continue. Despite all the work to date, PRA will end condemnation proceedings enabling Mr. Dupree to keep his studio.  While we have explored the potential of building around Mr. Dupree’s property, a viable project under these conditions is not possible.  In short, the inability to acquire Mr. Dupree’s property puts the prospect of bringing fresh food to this community at serious risk.

Despite this setback, the commitment PRA made to Mantua eight years ago to bring access to quality foods and employment opportunities will continue. We will do everything we can to bring a grocery store to this community, and are currently exploring other sites to make this a feasible project.  Further, any properties that we acquired for this development will not sit vacant for long.  Working with the community and Council, we will identify an appropriate development for this site.

While I believe PRA has done all we could to find a fair solution with Mr. Dupree – offering independent appraisals of his property, finding and offering other potential locations for his studio, and payment of all relocation costs – I know that the emotional attachment to property is real and deep.  I am disappointed that Mr. Dupree and PRA could not reach a resolution to this issue but respect his passion.

Mr. Dupree is a talented artist and I wish him the best of luck in all his endeavors.  I can only hope he recognizes PRA shares his deep passion for the Mantua neighborhood.

Brian Abernathy, Executive Director, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

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