Deborah McColloch, Director: 1234 Market St., 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
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February 24, 2014

LGBT-Friendly Affordable Housing for Seniors Opens

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Monday, February 24th to celebrate the opening of the John C. Anderson Apartments, a pioneering LGBT-friendly, affordable senior housing apartment complex. The apartments - named for John C. Anderson, a Philadelphia City Council member from 1979 until his death in 1983, instrumental in the passage of Philadelphia’s civil rights bill for sexual minority individuals – broke ground in November 2012. The ceremony for the dmhFund and Pennrose Properties’ project was attended by U.S. Senators, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a number of Pennsylvania congressional members, state representatives and city council members.

“It’s a dream come true,” said dmhFund president, Mark Segal who spearheaded the project. “To know that our seniors, those who paved the way for the rights we have today, finally have a proper home to call their own is just beyond words.”

The City of Philadelphia supported the $19.5 million development with $2 million in HOME funds. “We are proud to support this project,” said Deborah McColloch, Director of the Office Housing and Community Development. “Our goal is to make sure that all Philadelphians have access to affordable quality housing.”

The apartments have partnered with four local organizations to provide social services and events for the residents. The Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia’s LGBT health care and wellness center; ActionAIDS, a Philadelphia-based organization committed to an AIDS-free generation; the William Way Community Center, a Philadelphia community center which seeks to encourage, support and advocate for sexual and gender minorities’ and The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, a private, no-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for older Philadelphians will all utilize the building’s community room.

“The John C. Anderson Apartments go beyond just a home,” said Segal. “Whether from a lack of financial resources or fear of discrimination when being honest with service providers about their sexuality, many LGBT low-income seniors have not received the physical, mental and spiritual support they have a right to as human beings. Our community partners allow us to care for the whole person.”

January 30, 2014

Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Issues RFP: Seeks Developer for 59th and Market, New West TOD
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 1.5 acre parcel with frontage on the Market Street corridor, and is bound by 59th Street, Market Street, Salford Street, and Filbert Street.  Proposals are to be for mixed-use development concepts, with office and retail space.  The property is highly transit accessible, and is within minutes of University City, Center City and transit access to the Western suburbs.

PRA is seeking proposals that will create engaging façades and enhance current retail opportunities. The proposals should also reinforce the positive qualities of the physical fabric of the immediate neighborhood and incorporate sustainable design principles. 

All proposals, including a proposal deposit, must be submitted on or before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 4, 2014.  All proposals must be addressed to Tracy Pinson-Reviere, Project Manager II, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, 1234 Market Street - 16th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

The RFP is available on the PRA website at

January 17, 2014

Tax Preparation Sites Open Across the City: Free Tax Preparation for Eligible Philadelphians
Nearly 30 community-based agencies across the City of Philadelphia will provide tax preparation services to families with income less than $52,000 and individuals with income less than $20,000. This is a free service and tax returns are completed by IRS Certified Preparers.

“IRS Certified Preparers are experts at helping the tax filers access all the deductions and credits for which they are eligible, which gives them more money for their households, saving plans, and to spend at community businesses,” said Deborah McColloch, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD).  “OHCD supports these sites because increasing household financial stability is a key factor in promoting community development.”

OHCD and the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) work with Ceiba and the Urban Affairs Coalition to enable local agencies to provide these tax preparation services for those who qualify.

When visiting the sites, eligible participants need to bring the following information and documentation:

  • Social Security cards for the tax filer and all dependents
  • A valid picture identification for tax filer and spouse if married
  • Any tax form showing income, such as W-2 and 1099 forms, including unemployment income (1099-G) and income from Social Security.
  • Childcare or daycare expense statement with EIN from the provider or SSN (Social Security Number) of child care provider (if applicable).
  • Form 1098 (Tuition Payment Statement) (if applicable)
  • A voided check for Direct Deposit
  • Married couples who file jointly need to both be present.
  • Homeowners need to bring records of payments made for property tax, mortgage interest, and mortgage insurance payments.

Please click here to download a list of agencies offering free tax preparation services or call (800) 209-2914 or (800) 906-9887 to find a location that offers tax preparation services for eligible participants.

January 13, 2014

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Mayor Nutter, City Officials and Community Advocates Celebrate Historic Land Bank Bill Signing
Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by City Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez, City officials, and community advocates to celebrate the signing of historic Land Bank legislation.

“Vacant parcels of land have long been a source of crime, blight, reduction of property values, and an overall hindrance to neighborhood revitalization,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Returning these properties to productive use is a critical step in revitalizing communities, attracting new residents and businesses, assisting our schools, building household wealth and strengthening the City’s finances.”

With the new ordinance, Philadelphia will become the largest city in the country with a land bank. There are approximately 40,000 vacant properties in Philadelphia, three quarters of which are privately-owned.

“I am looking forward to what the land bank can accomplish in our City,” said Council President Clarke.  “This bill opens an opportunity for the City to enhance business development and community revitalization projects in our neighborhoods, and collect tax revenue from new property owners, which will directly benefit public education for our children.”

Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez added, “Today is the beginning of a change in our great City.  The land bank provides a strategic, timely, predictable and transparent process for City acquisition and disposition of vacant and abandoned properties. This is a great accomplishment.” 

The land bank will build on steps previously taken to simplify and streamline the land disposition process.  In Fall 2010, the Nutter administration established the Vacant Property Working Group, chaired by City Finance Director Rob Dubow and Managing Director & Deputy Mayor for Administration and Coordination Rich Negrin, to develop a strategy to address the issue of vacant land.

In the last two years, the City has published disposition policies, published the inventory of vacant parcels, created an online single point of entry to acquire vacant land, and competitively sold parcels.  The strategy formed by the Working Group became the foundation of the legislation signed today.

“This bill gives the City an opportunity to take an existing problem, and provides multiple solutions in every neighborhood,” said Majeedah A. Rashid, Chief Operations Officer, Nicetown Community Development Corporation. “We have seen this work in various cities across the country, and we know that we can take those existing models, combined with our City’s needs and expertise, and can change the future of living, working, and doing business in Philadelphia.”

In addition, the land bank will be able to acquire tax delinquent properties more efficiently, making it easier to combine those parcels with publically owned land to create parcels attractive for private investment.

“The land bank gives the City an opportunity to engage in every area of economic development,” said Anne Fadullon, President, Building Industry Association.  “When public and private, for-profit and non-profit business and organizations have a chance to bring their goods and services to a community, it benefits business owners and the community.  Job creation, business ownership, and access to quality products change the landscape of a neighborhood.”

Constance Morrow, a volunteer with the Women’s Community Revitalization Project, said, “Where I live in North Philadelphia, there are only 5 houses on my block – the rest are vacant lots.  This new land bank will help turn these trash-filled lots into things we need: more affordable housing, green space and new facilities.”


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