In early September, the City of Philadelphia applied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation Grant.
The Transformation Plan presents a balanced approach to neighborhood revitalization by building on and leveraging significant public and private investment occurring within and adjacent to the transformation area. The Plan will preserve and expand the inventory of affordable housing, improve the provision of services and develop and implement strategies to increase the overall quality of life of the neighborhood.
The Transformation Plan focuses on the three core goals of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative: Housing, People and Neighborhood. The Transformation Area is bounded by York Street on the north, North 6th Street on the east, Cecil B. Moore Avenue on the south and North Carlisle Street on the west.
For the first time in 60 years, the 2010 Census showed an increase in the population of the City of Philadelphia. The dramatic expansion of Center City Philadelphia, the Avenue of the Arts North cultural corridor and Temple University, as well as increasingly effective community-based investment in housing and services, have all renewed the promise of the North Central Philadelphia area. However, tremendous challenges remain, including long-term vacancy created through 60 years of depopulation and disinvestment, public safety issues, low performing schools, lack of jobs and services, and an overall perception that the North Central Philadelphia area is in a state of perpetual decline.
Targeted investments by the private, nonprofit and public sectors have placed North Central Philadelphia at the cusp of renewal. A Choice Neighborhood Initiative Implementation Grant would be a key boost to transform this important community.
The application builds on an earlier City grant proposal. In Spring 2012, the City applied to HUD for a similar $30 million grant for the North Central Philadelphia Transformation Area. The City was one of nine finalists out of 43 applicants, but was not awarded a grant.
Although the City was not selected to receive a grant, the strong relationships forged through the grant proposal process remained, and in FY 2013 planning to submit an updated North Central Philadelphia Transformation Plan Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant proposal began. OHCD and PHA worked collaboratively with Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) as the lead People partner and Temple University as the principal Education partner. The planning process included area residents, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the School District of Philadelphia, Public Health Management Corporation, EducationWorks, Econsult, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the Village of Arts and Humanities, and the City’s Departments of Public Health, Human Services, Police, Commerce, Recreation and Education. After months of planning, coordination and public engagement, the North Central Philadelphia Transformation Plan – with a comprehensive strategy to meet Housing, People and Neighborhood needs – was submitted in early FY 2014.
It is anticipated that by the beginning of 2014, the next phase of the process, and which organizations were selected, will be revealed.
Housing Revitalization Strategy