News and Press
Paul Chrystie Tel: 215-686-9721, Paul.Chrystie@phila.gov
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Press Releases 2013/2012
June 12, 2013
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Cordray Visits Philadelphia, Recognizes City’s Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program
City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Team Up to Save 5,700 Homes from Foreclosure
Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), visited Philadelphia to join Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Judge Annette Rizzo in marking the fifth anniversary of the City of Philadelphia’s Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program.
“In 2008 when the foreclosure crisis hit, Philadelphia responded,” said Mayor Nutter. “We've invested more than $15 million over the past five years, and we've kept 5,700 families in their homes, and kept blocks all over this city from being dragged down by the effects of foreclosure.”
In April of 2008 as the mortgage and financial crisis was rapidly unfolding, the City of Philadelphia took action. The First Judicial District issued an order that stated no owner-occupied residential property in Philadelphia could be foreclosed upon without the homeowner having the opportunity to meet with the lender as part of a court-supervised conciliation process. The City funded a hotline (SaveYourHomePhilly hotline, 215-334-HOME), outreach to homeowners, housing counseling, and legal assistance.
Since the program began in June 2008, more than 5,700 homes have been saved from foreclosure.
“I am proud of the work that has been done through this program,” said Judge Annette Rizzo. “Today recognizes what can be accomplished when the Court joins with City agencies and the legal community to react to extraordinary circumstances to meet one mission and stay on task: saving homes and neighborhoods one address at a time.”
“This program has been successful because of the City’s 30-year commitment to housing counseling and neighborhood services,” said Deborah McColloch, Director of Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). “We had the programs in place, and when the foreclosure crisis struck, we were ready to respond.”
To give homeowners every opportunity to prevent the loss of their homes:
- Outreach by neighborhood organizations reaches homeowners facing foreclosure at their homes and alerts them to available resources
- SaveYourHomePhilly hotline connects homeowners to housing counselors following case analysis by trained paralegals
- Housing counselors assist homeowners in negotiating mortgage modifications with lenders and in developing the financial skills to stay in the home
- Pro bono attorneys provide legal assistance when necessary in negotiating with lenders
Homeowners who are going through the foreclosure prevention process also have the opportunity to participate in the “Tools for Financial Growth” program, managed by OHCD and funded by PNC, which helps them develop the financial capability to remain in their home after it has been saved.
The City Foreclosure prevention program has been recognized both nationally and internationally, and has been replicated in places like Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Delaware, and Maryland.
Foreclosure Prevention Program Statistics:
15,417 Homeowners participating
- 5,755 Homes saved through active participation
- 2,815 Participant homes sold at sheriff’s sale
- 6,304 Outcomes still pending
- 543 Other
About the homeowners participating in the recognition program:
Veteran Alvin Turner’s mortgage payments were recorded incorrectly, causing his lender to believe that he was behind on his mortgage. Mr. Turner, a resident of Mt. Airy, sought help from the Unemployment Information Center to rectify the situation. With the assistance of his persistent counselor, Mr. Turner was able to demonstrate that he had in fact made his payments, and the foreclosure process was halted. In addition to saving his home from foreclosure, Mr. Turner participated in the Tools for Financial Growth Program.
After being a tractor trailer driver for 10 years, Fred Brinkley, Sr. of Northwest Philadelphia suffered injuries in a car accident rendering him disabled. While awaiting approval of his disability claim, Mr. Brinkley was unable to work and fell behind on his mortgage. Center in the Park assisted Mr. Brinkley to obtain a Homeowner Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) loan to become current on his mortgage. On June 13, 2013, Mr. Brinkley will finalize the HEMAP loan and save his house from foreclosure.
December 10, 2012
New Development Brings Permanent Housing and Supportive Services to Formerly Homeless Families
December 10, 2012 - Gaudenzia Inc. was joined by community members and elected officials to celebrate the opening of Shelton Court Family Apartments, 20 permanent supportive apartments in a formerly vacant building in East Oak Lane. Shelton Court provides formerly homeless families who have faced addiction safe and affordable housing and vital supportive services. Shelton Court will not only support individual recovery and promote independence, but also offer families impacted by substance abuse an opportunity to gain necessary skills and self-esteem.
Councilwoman Marian Tasco said “Gaudenzia has been integral and continues to be a key player in ending the cycle of homelessness. They provide quality housing and effective services to help individuals and families succeed and become productive members of our neighborhoods. Congratulations on bringing 20 new, greatly-needed units of supportive housing to our city.”
Shelton Court will target families with dependent children that include a female head of household recovering from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. All residents will be formerly homeless families with incomes at or below 50% Area Median Income ($36,700 for a family of three), who have completed treatment and transitional housing, and are ready to progress on to a permanent supportive residence. Referral sources for Shelton Court include the City’s Office of Supportive Housing, Gaudenzia’s Transitional Housing Program, and Gaudenzia’s Short Term or Shelter Approved Treatment Program.
Dainette Mintz, director of the City’s Office of Supportive Housing, said, “The need for housing for our most vulnerable families continues, and Gaudenzia keeps stepping up to the plate. Shelton Court will serve homeless families, veterans and those impacted by domestic violence – neighbors of all ages – who need special assistance in finding their path back to independence.”
This four-story gut rehabilitation preserved the building’s original architecture while providing new energy efficient features. The design included refurbishing the masonry exteriors, installing all Energy Star appliances, and replacing all windows throughout the facility for efficient insulation. Other energy-efficient features include programmable thermostats in each apartment; low-VOC paints, finishes and sealants; low-flow plumbing fixtures; and carpet made from recycled materials.
The building features eight three-bedroom units and twelve two-bedroom units. Two units will be accessible for people with physical disabilities and the entire building will be visitable. There will be an onsite Community Room and management office.
This $6.3 million dollar development includes support from the City with $4.69 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) funds. Awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NSP2 grants support efforts to stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods impacted by high rates of foreclosure, and create jobs during the economic downturn. Shelton Court put nearly 200 people to work during construction. Other funders include the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, PNC Bank, and The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
All units will be supported with rental assistance from either the Office of Supportive Housing or the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
Michael B. Harle, president and CEO of Gaudenzia, said, “We are thrilled to be able to provide quality housing and supportive services to 20 Philadelphia families through Shelton Court. We thank all of our partners and supporters who helped make this development possible and are pleased to bring a greater quality of life to a number of our neighbors.”
Gaudenzia operates 15 women and children programs in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware including: five residential treatment programs with child care; seven supportive housing programs; and three outpatient services programs.
Gaudenzia will provide residents with a continuum of services that offer them a successful transition into an independent lifestyle. These include: case management, outpatient substance abuse services, life skills workshops, budget preparation, education and adult literacy, community resources, good neighbor standards, and job readiness and placement. Children will be connected with proper schooling and other appropriate resources.
December 6, 2012
Historic Nugent Home to be Transformed into Senior Apartments
Community members, elected officials, and funders joined Nolen Properties to celebrate the groundbreaking of Nugent Senior Apartments in Mt Airy. Originally built in 1895, the “Nugent Home for Baptists” will be restored and converted into 57 affordable senior apartments. A new addition on the rear of the building will offer greater design flexibility and interior community space.
Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce, said “The investment in Nugent will not only transform a vacant structure into quality housing for our seniors, but will also preserve the neighborhood’s history, improve the quality of life for local residents, and create a more attractive community for additional investment in the surrounding area.”
Nugent was originally built by philanthropist George Nugent for the care of elderly Baptist Ministers and their wives. The Nugent building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 after its owner failed in its attempt to secure demolition permits; Nolen Properties acquired the building shortly thereafter. In 2011, Nolen Properties completed construction of the adjacent Presser Senior Apartments, a similar conversion of a historic building into 45 affordable senior apartments.
Councilwoman Cindy Bass said, “Restoring Nugent strengthens our community in so many ways – it decreases blight, increases property value, creates housing opportunities, and reminds us what a historic and lively community we live in.”
Six apartments will be fully handicapped accessible and three will be designed for residents with sensory impairments. Six will be affordable to seniors with incomes less than 20% Area Median Income (AMI) (maximum household income for one person is $17,150) and the remainder will be affordable to seniors with incomes between 50% and 60% AMI (maximum household income for one person is $34,260). There will be seven efficiencies and 50 one-bedroom apartments with rents ranging between $195 per month to $794 per month.
State Representative Rosita Youngblood said, "The restoration of Nugent is a victory for so many in our community who fought for its preservation. It will remove blight and help beautify our neighborhood, create jobs, and provide quality and safe housing for our senior residents. Thank you to Nolen Properties and all the partners for making this possible."
The development includes a community room, a large porch, and laundry facilities on each floor. The large lawn between Nugent and Presser will be preserved. Philadelphia Senior Center will provide supportive services to the residents and will also provide resident referrals.
The City of Philadelphia is providing $2.6 million. Nugent also received a Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Low Income Housing Tax Credit award.
Brian Hudson, executive director of PHFA, said, “Investing in Nugent is investing in the neighborhood, the residents, and the City’s history. Transforming this vacant structure into housing helps the community, the local economy, and maintains an important piece of history.”
Jim Nolen, president of Nolen Properties, said, “We are thrilled to be able to restore Nugent back into a beautiful place to call home once again. Thank you to the neighbors, the City, and our funders for support of this extraordinary project.”
April 18, 2012
Housing Development Corporation Breaks Ground on New Accessible, Affordable Apartments
After nearly three years of pre-development, Liberty Housing Development Corporation (LHDC) proudly announces the groundbreaking of 13 new, one-bedroom apartments for residents with physical disabilities in West Philadelphia. The development, called Liberty 13, will be dedicated in honor of former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Carol Ann Campbell, who passed away in 2008. The 20,000 square-foot building is schedule to open in January, 2013.
Located at 5526 Vine Street and equipped with state-of-the-art elevators, the two story structure will provide complete accessibility, featuring roll-in showers, accessible kitchens, barrier-free entrances, a community room, and an on-site staff apartment. Eight of the apartments will have direct access to the sidewalk and the remaining five will have direct elevator access. Individual gas heat and air conditioning for each unit will allow for maximum comfort. A central laundry area for tenants will provide added convenience.
Bruce Connus, President and CEO, Liberty Housing Development Corporation, said, “Three years in the making - HUD, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Office of Housing and Community Development, Councilman Jones, and Mayor Nutter all helped to help us develop a housing opportunity for who now must live in a nursing home because of the lack of accessible affordable housing. Now 13 persons with physical disabilities will now be able to control their own lives, make their own daily living decisions, when to wake up, go to bed, what to eat, watch on TV etc. Things we take for granted, 13 people will now have the same liberties as you and I have.”
In order to accommodate people with disabilities subsisting on low incomes, tenants will pay 30% of their adjusted incomes towards their monthly rent. Qualifying tenants for this rent structure must earn under 50% of area median income. In addition, rent on each of the thirteen units will include utilities.
Liberty Resources Nursing Home Transition Program will refer all applicants for occupancy, all of whom currently reside in Philadelphia Nursing Home and desire to transition to independent living in the community.
This development is a victory for advocates for accessible, affordable housing and a sign of progress for Philadelphia. The facility is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). The City donated the .46 acre lot with the help of Councilman Curtis Jones, Mayor Michael Nutter, and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.
Funding for Liberty 13 is provided by: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, $2,100,000; City of Philadelphia, $979,200; and the Pennsylvania’s Departments of Community and Economic Development & PA Department of Environmental Protection, $140,000.
Deborah McColloch, director of OHCD, said, “This development provides opportunities for those with disabilities to have a comfortable place to call home. Congratulations to Liberty on this important addition to the city.”
April 10, 2012
City, APM, & Jonathan Rose Companies Break Ground on Mixed-Use Transit-Oriented Development
Mayor Nutter Arrives by Regional Rail
Philadelphia, PA- Mayor Michael A. Nutter arrived by train to break ground on a new transit-oriented development in Eastern North Philadelphia. Developed by Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) and The Jonathan Rose Companies, this environmentally friendly initiative transforms an underutilized lot adjacent to the Temple University Regional Rail station into residential and commercial space to create a walkable and sustainable community.
The mixed-use development located at the corner of 9th and Berks Streets, called Paseo Verde, will offer
120 affordable and market-rate apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial and community service space.
The Temple University train station serves approximately 7,700 daily weekday passengers on 12 regional rail lines. This development will capitalize on its proximity to transit and convenience for commuters, while ensuring housing affordability.
Fourteen percent of the units will be accessible to persons with disabilities, as is the Temple University train station.
“Paseo Verde represents another step toward Philadelphia becoming America’s greenest city,” said Mayor Nutter. “Once again, Philadelphia and its development partners are demonstrating that affordable can be sustainable.”
Paseo Verde features a holistic approach to urban planning and environmentally-sensitive design.
- Create a housing mix that supports economic diversity
- Maximize development near a key transit location
- Create open space and greenways with stormwater management systems
- Create a pedestrian-friendly link to the Temple University neighborhood
- Incorporate energy-efficient and green building technology
City Council President Darrell Clarke said, "This groundbreaking is the culmination of five years of work and collaboration by so many community partners. I'd especially like to thank Sen. Shirley Kitchen, APM President Nilda Ruiz, and Jonathan Rose for their dedicated efforts and concern for the residents who will doubtless benefit from Paseo Verde."
Joe Casey, general manager of SEPTA, said, "SEPTA is proud to have been a consistent partner in City, community, and University planning efforts that have led to this project. The Temple Regional Rail Station, one of SEPTA’s most interconnected stations, provides students and workers, and soon Paseo Verde residents, with a comfortable and convenient connection to the entire region.”
Paseo Verde will complement City investments in previous APM housing and commercial initiatives. The multi-phase Pradera development created new affordable housing that raised property values, while Borinquen Plaza attracted a bank, a supermarket and other retail options to the community. The Sheridan Street Green Affordable Housing Development recently added 13 environmentally friendly single-family homes to the neighborhood.
APM president and CEO, Nilda Ruiz, said, “APM has been working for over 40 years on building better futures for our community and Paseo Verde is the culmination of that effort. This project will benefit our residents for generations to come by improving their quality of life through financial education, healthy lifestyles in a LEED Platinum ‘green’ environment and increased regional access. Paseo Verde demonstrates what can be accomplished when private and public sectors work together with community input and guidance.”
The green design will seek both LEED for Homes and LEED for Neighborhood Development certifications. Environmentally sensitive features include green and blue roofs, permeable paving, water gardens, solar panels, and the use of recyclable and renewable materials. Materials were chosen that will reduce environmentally triggered health conditions, such as asthma.
“Paseo Verde fills a gap at the hub of a great transportation system, Temple University, and vibrant community. An ordinary project would have filled the space between these elements. But we aspire to create an extraordinary project, which will magnify the contributions that each of these make to the City,” said Jonathan F.P. Rose, president of Jonathan Rose Companies. “Paseo Verde is the result of the deep collaboration between partners. Acting together, here, in North Philadelphia, we will show the world a new green way.”
The community service space will offer a primary care facility operated by Public Health Management Corporation, social services provided by APM, and a pharmacy. An on-site technology education center will provide local residents an opportunity to access state of the art technology.
Paseo Verde was developed with significant community input. APM led regular meetings before and during the planning to discuss community member and stakeholder visions and values for this site.
Senator Shirley Kitchen said, “This development represents a bright future for local residents. It will produce quality housing, offer employment opportunities through new retail, promote healthcare and engage the community. I commend APM and Jonathan Rose for an innovative approach to development.”
The total development cost is $47,273,506. The City provided a total of $5,550,000, with $4,000,000 in HOME funds, $1,500,000 through the Housing Trust Fund, and $50,000 from the Department of Commerce.
JPMorgan Chase is the signature financing partner, providing a total of $41 million through permanent and construction loans, New Market Tax Credits and other investments.
“We are committed to investing in projects that have a positive, sustainable impact on communities where we do business,” said David Walsh, senior vice president, Chase Community Development Banking. “Paseo Verde will provide much-needed affordable housing and community space to the Eastern North Philadelphia neighborhood.”
Other funders include: Hudson Housing Capital, $10,937,922 through Low Income Housing Tax Credits; State of Pennsylvania, $5,500,000 through Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds and $500,000 from DCED; Energy Works, $3,000,000; Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, $520,423 and $2,046,100 in grants. Senator Casey obtained a federal appropriation of $487,000.
The development is set to be completed in Spring 2013.
February 15, 2012
Stimulus Funds Create Jobs, Stabilize Neighborhoods
City Surpasses Federal Spending Goals
Philadelphia, PA - In 2010, the City of Philadelphia was awarded $43.9 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) funds, and 50 percent of the funds were to be expended by February 11, 2012. As that key deadline passed, more than $27.6 million in federal stimulus funds have created jobs, eliminated blight and created new affordable housing throughout the city. The City had spent nearly 63 percent as of the deadline.
“The Obama Administration’s charge to us was to get this stimulus money on the street where it could employ people and improve neighborhoods. We’ve delivered, and then some,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.
“NSP2 is making a difference in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Nutter. “Almost 300 new homes will replace blighted land or vacant buildings. Small businesses and construction workers have been put to work improving our communities.”
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NSP2 grants support efforts to stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods impacted by high rates of foreclosure.
The City has strategically administered the NSP2 funds to rehabilitate and resell foreclosed homes to prevent them from weakening neighborhoods, to demolish blighted buildings, and to build new affordable homes in key communities affected by foreclosure. Funds have been invested across the city, with particular emphasis in Point Breeze, Mantua and Nicetown.
New homes currently under construction in Point Breeze have employed 350 construction workers. 22 small businesses – 4 nonprofit developers and 18 for-profit developers, 10 of which are minority- or woman-owned – are rehabilitating and reselling foreclosed-upon homes throughout Philadelphia.
NSP2 funds spent to date have created or have under construction 200 new affordable rental units and 91 homeownership opportunities. 35 of the rental units are for households with special needs, including those who are formerly homeless, veterans or women in recovery and their families. The City has also demolished over 150 imminently dangerous and unsafe structures.
Jeff Allegretti, owner of Innova Redevelopment, a developer of single-family new construction and rehab units in Point Breeze through NSP2, said, “For 15 years, Innova’s mission has been neighborhood renewal. NSP2 was a game-changer for us. In two short years, we have developed more than 20 new homes, most in our own Point Breeze neighborhood, created living wage jobs for local workers, stimulated private development on formerly stagnant blocks, and provided quality homes for working families at an affordable price. We are very proud to be a part of the NSP2 story.”
The remaining funds will be used to continue to rehabilitate foreclosed homes for resale, specific large-scale developments and small demolition activities and will be used by Feb. 11, 2013.