Deborah McColloch, Director: 1234 Market St., 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
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Philadelphia Finalist for $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhood Grant
A Choice Neighborhood Grant would bring 300 homes, 600 construction jobs, 300 permanent jobs, services and education initiatives to North Central Philadelphia, leverage $125 million

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by city officials and stakeholders from throughout Philadelphia, announced on March 24 that the city is a finalist for a $30 million Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant that could  help transform North Central Philadelphia. As momentum builds for the city’s bid and a decision nears, Senator Casey announced a new effort to push for the city to receive the grant. Last year Philadelphia’s application was runner-up for funds. Casey and city officials unveiled what the neighborhood will look like if the grant is awarded.

“This grant has the potential to improve Philadelphia’s economy and help to transform this neighborhood,” Senator Casey said. “I’ve weighed in with HUD about Philadelphia’s strong application and am hopeful that it will be selected. Transforming our neighborhoods is the first step towards a growing economy and job creation.”

Prior to leaving for the Vatican, Mayor Michael A. Nutter said, “Choice Neighborhood funding would enable the City to implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy of housing, jobs, education and services. HUD’s investment, coupled with local, state and private funding, will have a truly transformative effect on North Central Philadelphia. I thank Senator Casey for his commitment to this community and his personal involvement in advocating for this grant.”

The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that transforms distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The program is designed to catalyze critical improvements in neighborhood assets, including vacant property, housing, services and schools. Senator Casey has consistently fought for funds to improve neighborhoods. In December a certified mixed-use housing facility was opened at 9th and Berks for which Senator Casey urged HUD to invest approximately $500,000.

Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:

  1. Housing:
    Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood;
  2. People:
    Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families; and
  3. Neighborhood:
    Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community.

To achieve these core goals, communities must develop a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or Transformation Plan. This Transformation Plan will become the guiding document for the revitalization of the public and/or assisted housing units, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and positive outcomes for families.

Senator Casey addresses the audience at SEPTA's Temple Station in the heart of the proposed Choice Neighborhood

Kelvin A. Jeremiah (right), President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) shows, from left, Deborah McColloch, Director of OHCD, Michael Johns, a Deputy Executive Director at PHA and Senator Casey the neighborhood from the platform of the Temple Station.

View looking west from the Temple Station showing PHA's lo-rise Norris Homes which would be replaced with 297 units of mixed-income housing.

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