Deborah McColloch, Director: 1234 Market St., 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
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News and Press 2010
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Press Releases 2010

December 13, 2010

Development Creates Jobs, Housing for Seniors and Commercial Opportunities.

Philadelphia- Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Council President Anna Verna and Senator Anthony Williams joined Universal Companies and ODUNDE Inc. to celebrate the opening of Osun Village, a mixed-use development of affordable housing, office and commercial space. The development offers 16 affordable rental homes for senior citizens and features 1,100 square feet of ground floor retail space at 2308-2314 Grays Ferry Avenue in South Philadelphia. 

Developed by Osun Village Partnership, LP, a joint venture of Universal Companies and Susie White, Inc., an affiliate entity of ODUNDE Inc., Osun Village was designed specifically for the needs of seniors. Each unit features a call system that connects directly to emergency services and utilizes keyless entry for easy resident access. The development offers a community room, laundry facility and rear patio. The development is within close proximity to public transportation, healthcare facilities, shopping and the amenities of Center City. 

Funded in part by stimulus funds, the development has created both construction and permanent jobs. 

“Osun Village not only helps fill a gap in affordable housing for seniors, but it also creates local jobs," said Mayor Nutter. "In fact, over 115 construction workers helped build this wonderful facility and multiple positions will be here permanently. The stimulus funds created jobs that enabled individuals to support their families, generated economic activity and helped build needed affordable housing.” 

Osun Village features 16 one-bedroom apartments for residents who are 62 years and must have an income at or below 50% of area median income ($27,450 for a single person household). All units are “visitable,” one unit is accessible for people with physical disabilities and one unit is accessible for people with hearing and vision impairments.   

Council President Verna said “This is an important development because it creates necessary housing opportunities for seniors, a population that needs our support. I am proud to celebrate the opening of this significant building.” 

The first floor contains office space that will house an on-site property manager as well as the ODUNDE Inc. organizational and program offices. The development team is currently in discussion with commercial tenants to occupy the ground-floor retail space.   

Lois Fernandez, founder of ODUNDE Inc., said “Osun, the goddess of love and beauty, shines. We named the development after Osun because it was love and determination that made this development possible. ODUNDE now has a permanent home right in the center of this culturally historic African- American community. We are grateful for all of the funders and supporters.” 

Rahim Islam, President and CEO of Universal Companies said, “We are proud to offer the community much-needed senior housing that not only offers quality homes, but accessibility and safety. We thank all of our partners who helped make this project possible.” 

Congressman Chaka Fattah said in a statement, “President Obama’s Recovery Act continues to do its job, helping to put Philadelphians back to work and into homes. Universal Companies and ODUNDE deserve our thanks for pulling together many partners to offer accessible homes for our seniors while creating both short and long-term economic opportunities in the community.” 

Osun Village was made possible by strong support from the city. The City of Philadelphia provided $1.5 million through Community Development Block Grant funds.  Other support for the development included $2.4 million from the National Equity Fund, $750,000 in stimulus funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), and $79,000 from the Economic Development Initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

The City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce provided $220,000 to support the commercial space. 

Brian A. Hudson, Sr., executive director of PHFA, said in a statement, “Osun Village will provide much-needed quality senior housing, while improving the long-term economic vitality of the neighborhood. It will be an asset to the local community and serve as a model to be duplicated across the commonwealth.”  

November 15, 2010

Offers Housing for Homeless Families and Commercial Opportunities

PHILADELPHIA- Congressman Chaka Fattah, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, joined Farah Jimenez, the executive director of People’s Emergency Center (PEC), to celebrate the opening of Fattah Homes, a mixed-use development of affordable housing and commercial space. The development consists of six homes for chronically homeless families with special needs and 1,650 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Fattah Homes transforms formerly vacant lots at 4017-19 Lancaster Avenue and 612-14 North 40th Street in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia.

Developed by People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PECCDC), Fattah Homes is named after Congressman Fattah, who is a long-time champion of PEC and a strong supporter of economic growth efforts throughout West Philadelphia. Fattah Homes is part of PECCDC's revitalization strategy, which has already included developments in the Mantua, West Powelton, and Saunders Park neighborhoods. 

Congressman Fattah said, “I am truly honored to have this important development named in my honor. It has been rewarding to work with PEC and PECCDC, who have been leading the way in the transformation of West Philadelphia and are truly developing properties with community needs in mind. I commend PEC for building a sustainable and stable environment for families to thrive and succeed in.”

Fattah Homes will expand the supply of permanent supportive housing for homeless families, while aiding mothers recovering from substance abuse or who have a family member with a physical or mental disability to achieve self-sufficiency. In addition to housing assistance, PEC will provide support services to the residents to foster independent living including case management, parenting and life skills programs, child care, and welfare-to-work programs.

Councilwoman Blackwell said, “I commend PEC for providing a full support system for its residents, including a stable, quality home and supportive care. This combination is important in helping families to become self-sufficient.”      

“There is a great need for affordable housing for homeless families in Philadelphia,” said Deborah McColloch. “Fattah Homes helps to meet this need and revitalize the neighborhood. The city is proud to support this important development.”

Fattah Homes consists of three 3-bedroom units, two 2-bedroom units and one 4-bedroom unit and will serve a total of six women and their children. One unit is accessible for people with physical disabilities, two units are “visitable,” and one unit is accessible to persons with vision or hearing impairments. All residents must earn below 50% of the area median income ($35,250 for a family of three).

Farah Jimenez, executive director of PEC said, “We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of Fattah Homes. This residence accomplishes two important tasks – it promotes independence for the resident families and builds and strengthens the community.  We are appreciative of all of our funders and supporters who partnered to make this critical development a reality.” 

Dainette Mintz, director, Office of Supportive Housing for the City of Philadelphia said, “Fattah Homes helps meet the urgent need for housing options for homeless families in Philadelphia. This development will help its residents build strong futures for themselves and their families.”

Sustainability was a priority in the planning of Fattah Homes and the development is on track to become LEED certified. PECCDC used locally-sourced materials and recycled construction waste when feasible. The buildings utilize high-efficiency features to reduce energy use, and tenants and building managers are being trained in how to operate the buildings to maximize efficiency.

Fattah Homes was made possible by strong support from the City of Philadelphia. The city supported the $2.5 million development with $1.4 million in HOME, Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, and Supportive Housing Program funds. Additional funding sources include $550,000 from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, $118,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, $90,000 from Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh Affordable Housing Program, a TD Banknorth Grant of $25,000, a Local Initiative Support Corporation Grant of $25,000, and a Home Depot Grant of $3,000.

The Philadelphia Department of Commerce provided $250,000 for the commercial space portion of the development. 

“This development will play an important role in the economic development of West Philadelphia,” said Kevin Dow, chief operating officer, City of Philadelphia Commerce Department. “This initiative will create jobs, promote commercial activity and further revitalize Lancaster Avenue.”

PECCDC is currently in discussion with commercial tenants to occupy the 1,650 square feet of ground-floor space. 


November 2, 2010

City Also Awards Special Needs Housing Funding

PHILADELPHIA- Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, today announced support for 16 affordable housing developments that will be applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The city also announced the recipients of funding for two special needs housing developments that will not require tax credits.

The city committed $32.4 million to developments that will provide more than 800 affordable housing opportunities throughout the city. The city committed an additional $1.7 million to the special needs housing initiatives, which will create 20 affordable homes for chronically homeless individuals and families and for individuals with physical disabilities.

“OHCD is proud to support these important developments, which will create much-needed housing opportunities, strengthen communities and revitalize neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. We look forward to celebrating the positive impact they will have all over the city,” said McColloch.

Dainette Mintz, Deputy Managing Director for Special Needs Housing for the City of Philadelphia said, “The need for affordable housing for special needs populations is truly urgent. These developments will help prevent homelessness and provide necessary care for people with disabilities. This funding will go a long way in creating housing opportunities for particularly vulnerable Philadelphians.”

Each of the developments was selected through a competitive Request for Proposal process overseen by the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development. The funding comes from the city’s Community Development Block Grant, HOME funds and the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

The next step in the process is for the developers to apply to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Those applications are due on November 5 and final decisions are expected in summer 2011.

The following developments were selected to receive affordable housing funding:

Adofina Villanueva-Johnnie Tillmon
Preserving 77 homes for low- and very low-income families and individuals: $499,000.
Developer: Women’s Community Revitalization Project
Location: 701-17, 719-35 W. Somerset St.; 1327, 1328 N. Orianna St.

Anthony Wayne Senior Housing Phase II
Senior housing development of 46 homes: $1.5 million.
Developer: ELON Group (Altman Group)
Location: 1701 S. 28th St.

Fairmount Gardens
Development of 55 homes for homeless families: $1.5 million.
Developer: Project H.O.M.E. (This is a special needs development, which will apply for tax credits.)
Location: 1416 Fairmount Ave.

HELP Philadelphia IV
Development of 61 homes for homeless veterans above age 55: $2 million.
Developer: HELP USA, Inc.
Location: 7200 Grovers Ave.

Ingersoll Commons
Development of 35 homes for low-income households: $2.5 million.
Developer: Community Ventures
Location: 1600 Master St.

NewCourtland Sartain Apartments
Preserving 35 homes for seniors: $600,000.
Developer: NewCourtland Elder Services
Location: 3017 Oxford St.

Nicetown Court II
Development of 40 homes for low-income households and commercial space: $4 million.
Developers: Nicetown CDC and Universal Community Homes
Location: 4400 block of Germantown Avenue

Nitza Tufino Townhomes
Development of 25 homes for very low-income families: $1.5 million.
Developer: Women’s Community Revitalization Project
Location: 1942-58 North Front St.

Nugent Senior Apartments
Development of 31 homes for seniors: $2.3 million.
Developer: Nolen Properties, LLC.
Location: 101 West Johnson St.

The Residences at Divine Lorraine
Development of 52 homes for seniors: $3.4 million.
Developer: Lorraine Hotel, LP.
Location: 699 North Broad St.

Susquehanna Townhomes
Development of 50 homes for low-income households: $1 million.
Developer: Michaels Development Company
Location: 27th Street and Susquehanna Avenue

William Way Senior Residences
Development of 60 homes for seniors: $2 million.
Developer: Pennrose Properties
Location: 1313, 1315-17 Spruce St.

Development of 60 homes for low-income households:  $860,000.
Developer: WPRE
Location: Scattered in West Philadelphia

9th and Berks Transit Oriented Development
Mixed-income, mixed-use development that includes 53 homes for low-income families: $4 million.
Developer: Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha
Location: 900 North 9th St.

9th and Ellsworth Senior Apartments
Development of 64 homes for seniors: $2 million.
Developers: St. Maron’s CDC and BCM Affordable Housing
Location: 921-927 Ellsworth St.

1900 West Allegheny Ave.
development of 60 homes for seniors: $2.8 million.
Developer: NewCourtland Elder Services
Location: 1900 West Allegheny Ave.

The following developments were selected to receive special needs housing funding:

Liberty at Disston Street
Development of 5 homes for individuals with physical disabilities: $500,000.
Developer: Liberty Housing Development Corp.
Location: 4800 Disston St.

Sojourner House
Development of 15 homes for homeless families: $1.2 million.
Developer: Women Against Abuse
Location: This location is not public for security reasons.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

City Selects Developer for Nicetown Redevelopment Stimulus Funds to Support Neighborhood Revitalization

PHILADELPHIA Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced the selection of a joint venture of Universal Community Homes and Nicetown Community Development Corporation as the developer for the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue.  The $13.2 million development, which the city will support with $4 million in federal stimulus funds, will produce 40 units of affordable housing and 6,000 square feet of commercial space near the Wayne Junction train station.

“This development will not only bring housing and economic development to the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue, it is also another step in the revitalization of the Nicetown community,” said Mayor Nutter.  “This development emphasizes Philadelphia’s ongoing commitment to create affordable housing and promote economic opportunity.”

The development, which Universal and Nicetown CDC proposed in response to a request for proposals issued by the Office of Housing and Community Development, will be called Nicetown Court II.  It will include both housing and commercial space on both sides of the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue.  Its location adjacent to the Wayne Junction train station will provide residents with access to the job centers located along the six train lines that stop at Wayne Junction. 

Kenneth Gamble, world renowned music producer and co-founder of Universal Companies, said, “This development incorporates a holistic approach to community development that includes both real estate and economic development.  We are proud to partner with Mayor Nutter and Councilwoman Miller to revitalize Nicetown.”

The federal stimulus funds will come from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2).  The purpose of NSP is to stabilize neighborhoods with high levels of foreclosure, vacant housing and blight.  A total of $43.9 million in NSP2 funds were made available to the city through a competitive application process.

“President Obama’s Recovery Act is making a difference in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia,” said U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah.  “The stimulus is working – creating jobs, developing homes, revitalizing neighborhoods and leading us toward economic recovery.”

The development is one of a series of neighborhood revitalization projects that will enhance both public amenities and private property in the Nicetown section of the city near Wayne Junction. In September Universal and Nicetown CDC broke ground on Nicetown Court I, a 37-unit mixed-used development in the 4300 block of Germantown Avenue; the Redevelopment Authority has issued an RFP for NSP2-supported housing in the neighborhood; and SEPTA is planning a $29 million redevelopment of the historic Wayne Junction train station that includes a renovation of the station building and ticket house that promises to preserve the historic integrity of these buildings.

“This project is long overdue and will be transformative for this section of Germantown Avenue. The eighth Councilmanic district welcomes new, affordable housing, and I look forward to seeing Recovery dollars at work in the Nicetown community,” said Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller.

Nicetown Court II will be consistent with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s “Germantown and Nicetown Transit Oriented Plan.”  It will fit within the context of the existing neighborhood and help to create a vibrant and walkable urban community.

Pending the award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, construction on the development could begin in fall 2011 and be completed one year later.

Nicetown Court II is a mixed-use development of 40 affordable housing units and over 6,000 square feet of commercial space adjacent to the Wayne Junction train station in the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue.  It will include eight 2-bedroom units in four duplexes, twelve 3-bedroom and twelve 4-bedroom single family homes, and eight 2-bedroom apartments.  All residents will earn less than 60% of the area median income ($46,980 for a family of four).  Four units will accessible for persons with mobility impairments and 36 units will be visitable.


October 19, 2010


Philadelphia, PA - Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by Councilman Darrell L. Clarke and State Senator Vincent Hughes to celebrate the groundbreaking of Strawberry Mansion Townhomes, a Friends Rehabilitation Program development of 25 homes for low- and moderate-income first-time buyers. Strawberry Mansion residents also celebrated this significant milestone for the neighborhood.

“These new homes and the families that will live in them are key elements in the revitalization of Strawberry Mansion,” said Mayor Nutter. “Philadelphia needs affordable, quality housing for all residents, including low-income individuals and first-time homebuyers. This development meets that need in a neighborhood that continues to grow and thrive.”

The new townhomes will complement Friends Rehabilitation Program’s most recent project, the restoration of 10 historically significant townhomes on Berks Street. In addition to constructing and developing the homes, Friends Rehabilitation Program will also provide pre-purchase housing counseling to prepare buyers for the responsibilities of owning a home.

C. Craig Smith, Jr., president of Friends Rehabilitation said, “We are excited to be a part of the reemergence and growth of one of Philadelphia’s historic neighborhoods. We are proud to provide quality, energy-efficient homes to first-time homebuyers and to give them the support to succeed through our counseling programs.”

“I commend Friends Rehabilitation Program for a development that provides homeownership opportunities for those who may not otherwise be able to have this experience, as well as support and guidance through the process of purchasing your first home,” said Councilman Clarke. “This development is a welcome addition to Strawberry Mansion.”

Strawberry Mansion neighbors participated throughout the entire project development process, from the initial planning discussions to the design of the homes. As the result of direct local resident feedback, Friends Rehabilitation has designed the new development around an existing community garden.

“Strawberry Mansion Townhomes not only showcases state-of-the-art housing options, the development also incorporated into the planning and design process the input and the vision of the community's diverse stakeholders,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Hughes.

Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, said, “I am proud of this development, not only because it serves a great need for quality affordable housing, but also because it was truly a community effort.”

Tonnetta Graham, president of the Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation said, “The Strawberry Mansion Townhomes complements other local efforts to revitalize our neighborhood. This development has been highly anticipated and our residents are excited to participate in this and other revitalization ventures. Through collaborative efforts that aim to preserve our past and invest in our future, I am confident that our community will prosper and grow.”

The development features 24 new and one rehabilitated three- and four-bedroom homes. Homes are priced from $110,000-$140,000 and buyers must be below 80 percent of the area median income ($62,650 for a family of four). Three homes are accessible for people with disabilities and all are “visitable.” Homes feature energy-efficient construction and include central air-conditioning, off-street parking and a large backyard or sideyard.

The City of Philadelphia provided support for this development with an investment of $3.2 million through HOME and Housing Trust Fund dollars. Additional funding sources include $900,000 from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, $500,000 from Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and $200,000 from Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. Sales proceeds will finance $3,275,000 of the development.

Otis Bullock, Strawberry Mansion resident and Friends Rehabilitation board member, said “Organizations like Friends Rehabilitation Program are critical to the revitalization of neighborhoods and providing quality affordable housing. Look at what’s been done in Strawberry Mansion in the past six years. My wife and I decided to move into Strawberry Mansion fresh out of law school. It has been well worth the investment. This community is coming together.”
Information on the Strawberry Mansion Townhomes, including application instructions and home layouts, can be found at


October 13, 2010


PHILADELPHIA- Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Councilman Darrell Clarke cut a ceremonial ribbon to celebrate the completion of the final 33 homes in the Cecil B. Moore Homeownership Zone, a cornerstone in the revitalization of North Central Philadelphia. The Homeownership Zone development has brought nearly 300 affordable new homes to the formerly blighted area.

“Today marks a significant milestone for this neighborhood. Over the past 15 years, it has been transformed into a sustainable, safe and vibrant community. The partnership between the city, state and federal governments, the private and nonprofit sectors, and community advocates has ushered in a new era in this North Philadelphia neighborhood," said Mayor Nutter.

The Cecil B. Moore Homeownership Zone was created to provide affordable homeownership opportunities and to redevelop North Central Philadelphia. In 1990, the area bounded by 17th and 20th streets and Master Street to Montgomery Avenue was 60 percent vacant buildings and lots with one of the highest rates of poverty in the city of Philadelphia. The neighborhood has been revitalized through over $80 million in public and private investments, transforming 16 acres of formerly blighted land into a viable community.

Twins at Oxford Commons, the third and final phase of the Homeownership Zone, totaled 151 new homes and was built in three stages. Stage 1 consisted of 64 homes; Stage 2 consisted of 54 homes; and the just-completed Stage 3 consisted of 33 homes.  Twins was developed by the Housing Enrichment Renaissance Board (HERB) and OKKS-Michael's Development Corporation Joint Venture, LLC.
“This development sought to promote and strengthen the quality of life for neighborhood residents. We were able to include our neighbors in the planning and gain their feedback along the way. This was a real community effort and the payoff is huge,” said Ken Scott, president and CEO of HERB.

The new homes are two-story twins with front lawns and large rear yards. 10 percent of homes in the Twins are accessible to people with disabilities and all units are “visitable.” They feature energy-efficient HVAC units, modern kitchens and private driveways with garages.  Trees and walkways are located throughout the development for a sense of walkability and a clean, green environment.  All the homes are located within a one mile radius of a recreation center, schools, police and fire station, library, grocery store, retail shops and entertainment centers.

Councilman Darrell Clarke said, “This development has created affordable and accessible housing options for hardworking families. I applaud the partners involved in the hard work over the past two decades that made this a reality.”  

Units are priced at $110,000. At least fifty-one percent of the units will be sold to households with incomes at or below 80% of area median income (AMI). Remaining units are available to households up to 115% of AMI.  A family of four at 80% of AMI earns $62,650 per year; at 115% of AMI, a family of four would earn $90,045.

Twins at Oxford Commons was made possible by strong support from the City of Philadelphia. The city supported the final stage with $260,000 in city capital funds, and by directing $1 million in Department of Community and Economic Development and $533,000 in HOME funds to the development. Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is financing $1 million and $3.6 million is being financed through sales proceeds. The city’s total investment for the Homeownership Zone has been approximately $34 million.

The Cecil B. Moore Homeownership Zone’s first two phases received a $23 million dollar award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funds were awarded as part of HUD’s pilot Homeownership Zone program, which was created in 1997 to help turn blighted inner city areas into thriving neighborhoods.

"HUD is proud to be a partner in the revitalization of a severely distressed neighborhood into a stable vibrant community," said HUD Deputy Regional Administrator Brenda Laroche. "This project shows us that it takes time, but it can be done with vision, commitment and a concentration of local, state and federal government resources."
“This is a significant development that has made a huge impact in North Central Philadelphia,” said Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development. “I am delighted with the outcomes ─ quality affordable housing and a positive economic impact on the community."


September 22, 2010


Philadelphia – Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by representatives from affordable housing developers, contractors and advocates as he celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, a dedicated, ongoing source of local funding set aside to address housing needs in Philadelphia.

Mayor Nutter also released a report summarizing the Trust Fund’s investments and accomplishments over the past five years. Since its inception in 2005, the Fund has committed more than $45 million to expand and improve housing opportunities for nearly 5,000 households.

“The Housing Trust Fund is a key tool in creating and preserving quality affordable housing and revitalizing neighborhoods throughout the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter.  “The accomplishments outlined in this report highlight the value of Trust Fund dollars for city residents.”

The accomplishments of the Housing Trust Fund include:

  • Creating nearly 850 new homes, with another 550 in the pipeline
  • Funding major home repairs in more than 1,200 houses
  • Construction of accessible homes and modifications to existing homes that have made it possible for more than 750 persons with disabilities to live more independently
  • Preventing more than 1,450 households from becoming homeless
  • Leveraging more than $140 million in non-city funds to date, with projects in pipeline leveraging another $85 million

Trust Fund dollars are primarily raised through deed and mortgage recording fees. In recognition of the success of the Trust Fund, City Council has passed legislation raising the deed and mortgage recording fees by $30 to provide additional resources. Legislation is pending in Harrisburg that would implement the Council ordinance.

Rick Sauer, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations outlined the effect inaction on the legislation is having in Philadelphia. “We are puzzled why the House Appropriations Committee has left hundreds of Philadelphia families out in the cold – homeless or with homes in disrepair and in foreclosure,” Sauer said. “If they had passed H.B. 1645 last summer, we would be celebrating about 450 more families in their own quality, affordable homes.  The clock is ticking – we urge them to do the right thing now.”

Trust Fund resources support three core program areas:

Housing Production: The Trust Fund provides financing to nonprofit organizations (or joint ventures between nonprofits and for-profits) for constructing new affordable homes for sale or rent.  The Trust Fund has made awards to 13 homeownership and 28 rental developments that will create 1,390 homes, 831 of which were completed by June 30, 2010.  The $25.5 million awarded to these developments is helping to leverage more than $225 million in non-city dollars.

Housing Preservation & Home Repair: The Trust Fund supports programs that preserve existing rental housing, make repairs to basic systems such as heating, plumbing and electric in owner-occupied homes, and modify homes to make them more accessible for the people with disabilities living there.  Through June 30, 2010, the Trust Fund has provided $14.5 million in funding to preserve 242 existing rental units, to repair major systems in 1,248 homes, and to make 616 homes more accessible to disabled residents.

Homelessness Prevention: The Trust Fund provides emergency mortgage, rental or utility assistance to enable residents to remain in their homes when facing foreclosure or eviction.  Short-term rental assistance along with support services help the homeless transition to permanent housing.  $4.8 million from the Trust Fund has enabled 471 individuals and 988 families to stay in their homes or transition to a new one while saving the city approximately $5 million in emergency shelter costs.

By creating new accessible homes and making modifications to existing homes, the Trust Fund enables persons with disabilities to live more independently.  754 homes are now accessible because of Trust Fund investments, and another 702 new homes are “visitable,” meaning that a person in a wheelchair can easily enter and navigate the main floor of the home, including a bathroom.

“A stable home is a key foundation if individuals are to reach their highest potential,” said John MacDonald, President and CEO of Impact Services Corporation, whose Trust Fund-supported developments are creating or preserving more than 100 homes.  “The Trust Fund has enabled us to make quality affordable housing possible for first-time homebuyers and for homeless veterans.”

Construction of developments supported by the Trust Fund are creating not only homes but also jobs all across the city.  Total development costs for the 41 new homeownership and rental developments and the six rental preservation developments total more than $380 million.

Francis Vargas, Development Officer for The Altman Group/Allied Construction, said, “The Housing Trust Fund is an essential tool in filling financing gaps so that affordable housing developments can move from proposal to construction.  The Trust Fund is creating jobs as well as homes.”

Trust Fund-supported developments are also bringing new investment and quality housing to neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.  The Twins at PowderMill was the largest development in Juniata Park in 30 years, and also won the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Judges’ Choice Award for Best New Development of 2009.

Deborah McColloch, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development said, “The Housing Trust Fund has been a tremendous resource as we increase the supply and the accessibility of affordable housing, create jobs and revitalize communities across the city.”

The report was written and produced by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD).  Data for the report was provided by OHCD, the Office of Supportive Housing, the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. and the Redevelopment Authority.

The report is available on this website:click here

September 21, 2010

PHILADELPHIA- Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Councilwoman Donna Miller and Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. joined housing developers Nicetown CDC and Universal Companies in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Nicetown Court, a mixed-use development in the 4300 block of Germantown Avenue in the city’s Nicetown neighborhood. Nicetown Court will include 37 affordable apartments – four of which will be accessible for people with physical disabilities and one unit will be accessible for individuals with hearing and vision impairments – along with 3,900 square feet of street-level commercial space.

“Today marks a major step forward in the transformation of Nicetown,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City is leading the way as both public and private sponsors invest in the neighborhood and strengthen the community. Not only will this project provide new residential and retail opportunities, but it will also bring new life and vitality to Nicetown.”

Nicetown Court is one of a series of neighborhood revitalization projects that will enhance both public amenities and private property in the Nicetown section of the city near the Wayne Junction Train Station. The Office of Housing and Community Development recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for affordable rental housing (including possible mixed-use development) in the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue; the Redevelopment Authority has issued an RFP for Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2-supported housing in the neighborhood; and SEPTA is planning a $29 million redevelopment of the historic Wayne Junction Train Station that includes a renovation of the station building and ticket house that promises to preserve the historic integrity of these buildings.

Councilwoman Miller said, “This is an exciting time for Nicetown and for Philadelphia. This community revitalization project will not only build a more attractive neighborhood, but it will also create a healthier, safer, and more prosperous environment for families to grow.

This development project will bring approximately 100 jobs to the community. The Nicetown CDC has made it a priority to hire from the local area.

“The mission of the Nicetown CDC is to improve and sustain the quality of life in Nicetown and the surrounding community,” said Zakariyya Abdur-Rahman, President and CEO, Nicetown CDC. “This development clearly accomplishes this goal and helps us create a safer, more viable neighborhood. We thank the city and all of our partners for helping make this a reality.”
Five of the 37 units are one-bedroom apartments, twenty are two-bedroom units and twelve are three-bedroom units. Nicetown Court will feature off-street parking, a community room, and an on-site business center available to residents.

Deborah McColloch, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development said, “We are very pleased to support Nicetown Court. This development has both social and economic impact. It enhances the community by providing an affordable and accessible place for residents to call home and by contributing to a stronger local economy.”

Nicetown Court would not be possible without a strong commitment from the City of Philadelphia.  The city is supporting the $14.6 million affordable housing development with $2.8 million in HOME and Housing Trust Fund dollars.  Other funders include the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), The Richman Group Development Corp., the Nicetown CDC and Universal Companies. The Reinvestment Fund is providing a bridge loan to advance the development.

The commercial space is being supported by the Philadelphia Department of Commerce with an investment of $250,000.

Brian Hudson, Executive Director of PHFA, said, “It is important that the State invests in our communities to make Pennsylvania stronger. This partnership is a great model for future investments.” 

A. Rahim Islam, President and CEO of Universal Companies said, “I am proud to join with the Nicetown CDC to make this project a reality. As a former resident of Nicetown, I am honored that I can return to my roots and play an integral part in the development of affordable housing and a viable commercial strip and create jobs for many in my old neighborhood.”

In addition to Nicetown CDC and Universal Companies, the development team includes commercial developers Brandywine Companies, Stuart & Associates Architects, and Domus Construction Management.

The development has received strong community support and is included in the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Germantown-Nicetown Transit Oriented Plan. It is scheduled for completion in fall 2011.

# # #

Monday, August 2, 2010

OHCD Issues Three RFPs for Affordable Housing Development

PHILADELPHIA- Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) Director Deborah McColloch announced that OHCD has issued three Request for Proposals (RFP) to finance the development of affordable housing. These developments will serve senior citizens, Philadelphians with special needs and the general public.

“The demand for affordable rental housing in Philadelphia is high,” said McColloch, “and our residents with special needs are particularly hard-pressed to find housing they can afford that meets those needs. These RFPs will help increase Philadelphia’s stock of affordable and accessible housing.”

The three RFPs are:

  • 9th and Ellsworth Affordable Senior Rental Development – OHCD is soliciting proposals for a developer to construct approximately 50 new affordable rental units for senior citizens. The development will take place on a City-owned vacant parcel at 921-31 Ellsworth Street in South Philadelphia.
  • Special Needs Housing Development – OHCD is seeking proposals to create permanent housing for populations with special needs, including homeless veterans, people with disabilities, persons with HIV/AIDS, homeless victims of domestic violence, homeless youths and others.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Development – OHCD is soliciting proposals to finance the development of rental units designed to serve low- and moderate-income Philadelphia residents. Proposals are limited to those that intend to apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (including Preservation Credits) or PennHOMES financing from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency in its fall 2010 tax credit cycle.  (PHFA has not yet announced a due date for proposals.)

OHCD will hold an informational briefing regarding each proposal for potential applicants.  The briefing sessions are as follows:

  • 9th and Ellsworth on Tuesday, August 17 at 2:00 p.m.;
  • Affordable Rental Development on Tuesday, August 17 at 3:00 p.m.; and
  • Special Needs Housing on Wednesday, August 18 at 10:00 a.m.

Each briefing will be held at OHCD’s 1234 Market St. office on the 17th floor.

The deadline for proposal submissions for each RFP is 4 p.m. on Friday, September 10, 2010.  The RFPs can be viewed in full by visiting


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


PHILADELPHIA- Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the Philadelphia kick-off of the “Loan Modification Scam Alert Campaign.” The campaign is designed to help homeowners identify the signs of rescue scams, obtain foreclosure prevention assistance from trusted organizations, and report illegal activity to authorities. In addition, the campaign will connect clients to already available programs such as the SaveYourHomePhilly hotline (215-334-HOME), existing housing counseling programs and the City’s nationally recognized Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program. Joining Mayor Nutter at the kick-off were national campaign partner NeighborWorks America, local campaign partners the Urban Affairs Coalition, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, New Kensington CDC and the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development, as well as Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, Judge Annette M. Rizzo, Richard J. Zack of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Community Legal Services, which represents foreclosure scam victims.

“Protecting Philadelphia’s neighborhoods means protecting our homeowners,” said Mayor Nutter. “Every day scam artists prey on Philadelphians who are facing foreclosure. Instead of getting help, many decent families end up losing their money and their homes. With the launch of this campaign, Philadelphia will be better able to connect homeowners with resources needed to get back on track.”

“As the foreclosure rate grows, more and more homeowners are being deceived by scam artists who prey on their fears,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer of NeighborWorks America. “This campaign is based on the belief that knowledge is the best defense, which is why the campaign equips homeowners with the tools they need to minimize their risk and stop scammers in their tracks.”

“Anyone can be the victim of a mortgage or foreclosure scam,” said Councilwoman Tasco. “Philadelphians need to know that housing counseling agencies and legal services organizations are offering free services to anyone seeking help. Through this campaign, we hope that homeowners will be better protected from foreclosure scams.”

NeighborWorks America launched a national scam education campaign in October 2009. Local campaigns are being undertaken in Philadelphia and other cities to help combat mortgage foreclosure and associated rescue scams. This campaign offers a two-pronged approach to keep Philadelphians in their homes. The first is to identify homeowners who are having trouble making monthly mortgage payments and link them with the SaveYourHomePhilly hotline and free housing counseling. The second is to identify possible fraud and prosecute offenders.

For homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages and remain in their homes, becoming ensnared in a foreclosure “rescue” scam makes resolving a mortgage problem much more difficult, and in some cases it can preclude a resolution.

“Early intervention is very important with our program. We’ve got a great amount of resources that can assist homeowners,” said Judge Annette M. Rizzo, creator of the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program. “We urge homeowners to call the SaveYourHomePhilly hotline as soon as they possibly can. It’s so important for homeowners to immediately get the help they need, and the Hotline is our first line of defense against foreclosure.”

“We cannot do this alone,” said Zack, chief of the Commercial and Consumer Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “If we are going to prosecute these scam artists we need victims to let us know who they are. No one should be afraid to seek help from our office.”

The Urban Affairs Coalition is coordinating the Philadelphia campaign. “The tragedy of a foreclosure prevention scam is that it leads homeowners who are struggling to save their homes from foreclosure down a path which does nothing to improve their chances of keeping their homes in the long run. By following this phony path they forego other, legitimate paths that offer real possibilities of saving their homes,” said Sharmain Matlock-Turner, president and CEO, Urban Affairs Coalition.

The campaign will enhance the City’s successful Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program, which links homeowners with housing counselors and requires lenders to meet face-to-face with their clients to negotiate the terms of a loan before proceeding with foreclosure. Since June of 2008 more than 7,500 Philadelphia homeowners have been able to meet with their lenders through the Program. More than 2,400 homeowners have been able to reach a positive resolution with their lenders, and another 4,000 cases remain in the foreclosure prevention process. This program, along with the SaveYourHomePhilly hotline and the free housing counseling that accompanies the Foreclosure Prevention Program, is available to all Philadelphians.

The campaign will urge homeowners to call the SaveYourHomePhilly hotline (215-334-HOME) through which they will be connected to free housing counseling services. Homeowners may also access information via the internet at or via the NeighborWorks national campaign site at

Irwin Trauss, Supervising Attorney at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, which staffs the Hotline offered a message for Homeowners facing foreclosure. “Before signing an agreement with anyone who promises to save your home from foreclosure, paying money to anyone who promises to negotiate a deal for you with the mortgage company, or before you even sign an agreement with the mortgage company itself, call the SaveYourHomePhilly Hotline. We can help you avoid being scammed, help you evaluate your options and direct you to legitimate assistance that could help you save your home.”

The Philadelphia “Loan Modification Scam Campaign” will last through the end of 2010.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


PHILADELPHIA- Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Guillermo “Bill” Salas of the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE), celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for streetscape improvements on North Fifth Street between Lehigh Avenue and Indiana Street. This $3.8 million project will help to create an identity for this vibrant commercial corridor. North Fifth Street – known as “El Centro de Oro” – is the “Main Street” of Philadelphia’s growing Latino community. The streetscape project will complement ongoing economic, cultural and recreational revitalization efforts.

“My Administration is committed to fostering neighborhood development, business attraction and cultural vitality in communities across Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Dedicated partners like HACE are helping to make this vision a reality through the revitalization of mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhoods that will provide residents new opportunities for improving their quality of life.”

“This is one of several initiatives to strengthen ‘El Centro de Oro,’” said Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez. “These important projects not only create an identity for the corridor but also serve as a regional attraction for Philadelphia’s Latino population.”

The cost of the project is $3,877,500. Funding is coming from the City of Philadelphia Cultural Corridor Bond Program ($900,000), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ($2 million) and PennDot ($977,500). Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

“HACE has undertaken a number of projects to support businesses and increase amenities in the corridor,” said Bill Salas, president of HACE. “Our streetscaping efforts will help bring these elements together for future generations.”

The planned streetscape improvements will include improved lighting and landscaping, repaved gold-colored sidewalks, the installation of metal palm trees, and screening in the 2700, 2800 and 2900 blocks of North Fifth Street. These upgrades and installations will highlight the cultural character of the community, showcase the growing numbers of businesses, and provide safety and security improvements for drivers and pedestrians.

The State and City funded streetscaping is one component of a comprehensive series of improvements in the North Fifth Street Corridor. Additional improvements include increased, secure parking, implementation of the Storefront Façade Program, a standardized street cleaning effort and new murals created with the cooperation of the Mural Arts Program.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


PHILADELPHIA –Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) joined Cordella Hill, executive director of Covenant House Pennsylvania and Emily Riley, executive vice president of the Connelly Foundation in breaking ground for Rights of Passage, a transitional living program for homeless youth. This is Covenant House’s most recent initiative and will provide temporary housing for 20 homeless youths under the age of 21.

The development will consist of 10 two-bedroom units of affordable homes. All homes will contain a shared kitchen, bathroom and living area. Additionally, plans include outdoor recreational space, a lounge, laundry facilities and offices for program support staff.

The Rights of Passage homes are a direct response to the growing need for transitional housing for young adults in Philadelphia. Covenant House alone serves more than 500 young people every year through its Crisis Shelter, with limited resources for transitioning them to independence. This expanded Rights of Passage program is the final piece of Covenant House’s continuum of care that provides youth with both the joy of independence and the stability of a safety net.

“We are so excited to finally have this project underway,” said Hill. “What started as a dream eight years ago is finally becoming a reality. This is a truly monumental day for homeless youth in Philadelphia.”

“The demand for special-needs housing in Philadelphia is high,” said McColloch. “OHCD is pleased to help provide these young adults with safe and affordable housing.”

Councilman Frank DiCicco, who strongly supported the development but was unable to attend the event, added, “The First District welcomes such a unique and necessary housing opportunity. Homeless youth in Philadelphia can rely on the care and expertise of this transitional housing team.”

The Rights of Passage Program requires all residents to be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week, participate in life skills classes, attend to daily chores, complete three or more hours of community service each month and pay rent. After care is also provided to recent graduates.

“This program provides a well-rounded education that will continue to serve residents long after they leave,” said Hill. “We are grateful to our funding and development partners for helping us to create our vision.”

Funding for this project includes $400,000 from the City of Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund; $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and distributed by OHCD, as well as large grants from Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, The Connelly Foundation, the Horn Charitable Trust, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and over $500,000 from individual supporters of Covenant House.

Since 1999 Covenant House has been providing faith-based services to children suffering on the street. They are dedicated to providing youth with unconditional love and absolute respect. Covenant House works to protect and safeguard children everywhere.

Monday, April 19, 2010


PHILADELPHIA- Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Congressman Chaka Fattah, State Senator Lawrence Farnese, and Councilman Darrell Clarke joined housing developer Community Ventures in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Francisville East, a forty-four unit rental development in the city’s Francisville neighborhood. Forty-three of the forty-four homes will be newly constructed and one home will be rehabilitated. Twenty-nine homes will be accessible or adaptable to persons with disabilities.

Francisville East is Community Ventures’ 10th affordable housing development in the area and will feature a garden, off-street parking and “green” components such as solar energy panels.

“Francisville East is not an island, but is part of a larger, neighborhood strategic plan initiated and promoted by the Francisville community to keep their community healthy and diverse,” said Mayor Nutter. “Neighborhood involvement was key for this project, which exemplifies the rewarding outcomes of civic engagement and responsibility.”

Social services will also be provided by Philadelphia Senior Center to families, seniors and households with disabilities. Philadelphia Senior Center is currently offering similar services to two other Community Ventures’ developments in the area.

“Citizens throughout Philadelphia deserve first-rate housing opportunities that are safe and affordable,” said State Senator Farnese. “I am pleased to celebrate the construction of these homes.”

Congressman Chaka Fattah, Chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus, strongly supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provided funding for the Francisville East development.

“We’re breaking ground today on a win-win effort for Francisville, for senior citizens and families, for our environment, our economy and for the City of Philadelphia,” Rep. Fattah said. “Thanks to the Recovery Act and the leadership of Mayor Nutter, forty-four vitally needed homes will occupy this spot. Affordable housing built with smart-energy and high sustainability standards, which I supported in Congress, will be a great addition to this community.”

“The Francisville section of Philadelphia has always had a strong sense of community,” said Councilman Darrell Clarke. “Francisville East will build on that sentiment. I am eager to see the completion of such a forward-thinking development.”

The development has received community support and was selected to be a part of Moving Francisville Forward, the strategic plan adopted by the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation in 2007.

Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) said “OHCD is excited about this well-planned neighborhood asset. Francisville East brings a much-needed housing opportunity to Philadelphians.”

“We are humbled by the support Francisville East received from Councilman Clarke, the City, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and Bank of America,” said Stephen J. Kaufman, executive director of Community Ventures. “We are grateful for President Obama’s federal stimulus funds which helped Francisville East and are being put to use in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.”

Funding for Francisville East was provided by the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Bank of America and Community Ventures’ own investments.

This development is scheduled for completion in 2011. Rent will be targeted toward very-low to low-income households.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010  


PHILADELPHIA- Mayor Michael A. Nutter, along with Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller and Nolen Properties, LLC, today celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for Presser Senior Apartments in the City’s West Mount Airy neighborhood. This 45-unit affordable apartment complex, which is the first housing development in Philadelphia to use stimulus funds, will create jobs while providing much-needed senior housing.

Additionally, it is a historic renovation of Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers. The original Presser Home was commissioned by sheet music publisher and Philadelphia philanthropist, Theodore Presser, designed by Philadelphia architectural firm Seymour & Davis and completed in 1914.

Unfortunately, the home became vacant and fell into disrepair before being acquired for rehabilitation in 2006 by Nolen Properties. With the assistance of Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, this 52,248 square-foot building was included on the National Register of Historic Places that same year.

"This project will not only provide seniors with excellent, affordable housing, but it will also bring more jobs to Philadelphia," said Mayor Nutter. "It is another great example of Recovery dollars at work in our city."

“The Eighth Council District is known for its significant historical sites,” said Councilwoman Reed Miller. “I am proud that Mt. Airy will be home not only to safe and affordable housing for our seniors but also to the first stimulus-funded historical housing renovation in the City.”

All homes will be targeted toward seniors aged 62 and older with incomes of $32,700 or less per year.

In an effort to remain energy-conscious and control costs, all homes will feature individual heating and air conditioning. The apartment complex will also be renovated to include modern amenities while maintaining the historical integrity of the structure.

“Presser Senior Apartments is a unique housing development,” said Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development. “In addition to restoring a historical site to its former grandeur and function, Presser Senior Apartments will help address the critical need for quality affordable housing in our city.”

James A.  Nolen of Nolen Properties, LLC said “We are extremely happy to bring this magnificent historic structure back to life while providing affordable housing to the senior citizens and job opportunities for people throughout the community.”

Rehabilitation of the building, which is best known for its terra cotta ornamentation in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, is scheduled for completion in 2011.

Funding for this development was provided by the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and PNC Bank.
Nolen Properties, LLC is a fifth-generation family business based in Philadelphia and focused on urban redevelopment. The company believes in the adaptive reuse of real estate assets to benefit the neighborhoods, infrastructure and environment of Philadelphia.

Thursday, April 8, 2010  


PHILADELPHIA- Mayor Michael A. Nutter, along with members of City Council and representatives of the affordable housing community, today announced the recipients of a total of $18.4 million in affordable housing support. These awards will be used to create more than 850 housing opportunities in 24 affordable housing developments throughout the city. In addition, the organizations will leverage more than $80 million in other funds and create hundreds of jobs in Philadelphia.

“By investing in affordable housing and creating new opportunities for locally-based businesses, we are strengthening entire communities,” said Mayor Nutter. “It is private-public partnerships such as this that unlock million of dollars in funding and create jobs for Philadelphians.”

“This is another demonstration by the administration to continue, despite resource limitations, to increase affordable housing opportunities in our city, particularly in West Kensington,” added Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez.

Each of the developments was selected through a competitive Request for Proposal process overseen by the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). The funding is sourced from Community Development Block Grants, both annual and additional funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, HOME and the City’s Housing Trust Fund.

“OHCD is committed to providing quality affordable housing to revitalize neighborhoods,” said Deborah McColloch, OHCD director. “These developments are helping to meet this goal. We look forward to celebrating their completion.”

The following developments were selected to receive affordable housing funding and participate in today’s check presentation ceremony:

  • Anthony Wayne Senior Housing Phase II
    a 46-unit affordable senior rental development, received $1.4 million. This is a new-construction development and will replace a vacant lot. The developer for these homes is the Elon Group.
  • Aspen Housing
    a 10-unit homeownership development by ACHIEVEability, received $950,000. Aspen Housing is scattered-site new construction and rehabilitation.
  • Beaumont Accessible Homes
    a two-unit new-construction homeownership development proposed by The Beaumont Initiative and Right-Sized-Homes, received $158,825. Construction will exceed EnergyStar minimum HERS rating.
  • Bigham Wise Homes
    a 29-unit rental development in West Philadelphia, received $500,000. Units in this People’s Emergency Center (PEC) development will be targeted to artists, chronically homeless families and households with special needs.
  • Casa Farnese Preservation Project
    a 288-unit senior apartment complex in South Philadelphia, received $300,000. Funding will go to improve energy-efficiency. The developer is PRD Management.
  • Cherry Tree Housing
    a seven-unit rental preservation project in West Philadelphia, received $115,000. ACHIEVEability, the developer, will use the funds for building restoration.
  • Diamond Green
    a new-construction, 20-unit, mixed-use development in North Philadelphia near Temple University, received $750,000. The development will incorporate student apartments and family housing and is designed to be LEED-certified. This is a joint-venture between Metamorphosis Community Development Corp. and Mosaic Development Partners, LLC.  
  • Diamond Phase VI Homeownership
    a six-unit rehabilitation project in Strawberry Mansion, received $300,000. The developer is Project H.O.M.E. and the development will complement existing Project H.O.M.E. construction in the area.
  • Forgotten Blocks III
    a five-unit, in-fill new construction by the Allegheny West Foundation, received $653,230. This North Philadelphia development is part of a larger neighborhood revitalization effort.
  • Front & Norris Townhouses
    a 25-unit new-construction development by Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), received $1.5 million. This mix of townhouses and duplex apartments in Eastern North Philadelphia will be targeted toward very low-income families.
  • Ingersoll Commons
    a 39-unit new construction development in North Philadelphia, received $2.5 million. The homes are being developed by Community Ventures. Plans include an apartment complex with a community room.
  • Kairos House Rental Preservation
    a 36-unit preservation project by Project H.O.M.E. in North Philadelphia, received $150,000. Funds will be used to rehabilitate and maintain this special-needs housing development.
  • Latona Street
    a four-unit, in-fill new construction in Point Breeze, received $230,000. The developer for this project is Habitat for Humanity.
  • Lehigh Park II
    a 48-unit apartment complex built in a formerly vacant hospital in Eastern North Philadelphia, received $1.28 million. These funds will go toward maintenance and rehabilitation of these homes. The developer is Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE).
  • Liberty at Welsh Road
    a two-unit effort by Liberty Resources to provide wheelchair accessibility, received $80,000. These homes are within a preexisting 66-unit apartment complex in Northeast Philadelphia.
  • Nugent Senior Apartments
    a 26-unit rehabilitation of the former Nugent Home for Baptists in Mt. Airy, received $2 million. The developer for this project is the Philadelphia Preservation Group.
  • Projecto Escalera and Hogar de Esperanza
    two existing special-needs housing developments by (APM), received $400,000. Funds will go toward the rehabilitation of these buildings located in North Philadelphia.
  • Pensdale II
    a 38-unit, new construction senior rental housing development, received $789,760. Funds will enable apartments to be rented to very-low income residents.
    a 40-unit, scattered-site rental development located in West Philadelphia, received $925,000.The developer of this new-construction and rehabilitation project is West Philadelphia Real Estate.
  • 419 Chandler Supported Independent Living
    a six-unit special-needs apartment complex, received $210,000 for rehabilitation costs. The homes are located in Northeast Philadelphia and the developer is 1260 Housing Development Corp.
  • 1515 Fairmount Rental Preservation
    a 48-unit, four-story special-needs residence located in the Fairmount section of the City and run by Project H.O.M.E., received $200,000 for rehabilitation efforts.
  • 1900 West Allegheny Avenue
    a 60-unit, low-income senior housing development, received $2.5 million. This development is new construction and will be built on a former industrial brownfield. The developer is NewCourtland Elder Services.
  • 3408 Rhawn Apartments
    a 27-unit rental rehabilitation project located in Northeast Philadelphia, received $500,000. Funds will be used for improvements of the existing structure. Plans also include the creation of accessible units. The developer is 1260 Housing Development Corp.
  • 4200 Stiles Phase II
    a two-unit, in-fill new-construction development in the East Parkside section of the City received $100,000. The developer is Habitat for Humanity.

Tuesday April 6, 2010


PHILADELPHIA- Housing Director Deborah McColloch had an extra hand around the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) today as the City of Philadelphia celebrated PAL Day. Kirsten Kahlert, a seventeen-year-old Little Flower High School junior, was selected to join OHCD from the Rizzo PAL center in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. Kahlert was chosen to represent her PAL center at this annual event through a process that evaluates academic achievement, community service and extra curricular activities.

One of Kahlert’s main accomplishments at the Rizzo Center has been teaching dance to other PAL students for the last four years. She has even managed a class of 25 youngsters. After graduation from Little Flower, Kahlert wants to go to college. She hopes to become a small business owner and likes the idea of combining her business sense with her penchant for public service.

“I think the biggest problem Philadelphia faces is the number of homeless people in our city,” said Kahlert. “If I were a city official, I would offer tax breaks to businesses that sponsored soup kitchens or shelters.”

Kahlert also thinks that vacant properties in the city could be renovated and made into affordable homes; an idea with which McColloch agreed.

“Kirsten has great ideas,” said McColloch. “Rehabilitating homes and building on vacant land has enabled OHCD to provide safe and affordable housing to thousands of Philadelphians. Kirsten’s thinking is right on track!”

Kirsten had this to say about her experience, “homelessness is an important issue to me. I came into this experience thinking it was all about solving the issue of being homeless but that’s not the only thing that OHCD is about. They help people who are having trouble financially. At first I wasn’t so sure about law and politics but this program opened my eyes to a whole new level.”

PAL Day is sponsored by the Police Athletic League and has been celebrated for 40 continuous years. The goal of the event is to teach Philadelphia youth about city government and introduce them to a wealth of available career opportunities. 

Monday, March 29, 2010


PHILADELPHIA- Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez and Terry Gillen, executive director of the City’s Redevelopment Authority today dedicated a rehabilitated house in Frankford that was paid for with Federal stimulus funds. The home, at 4034 Markland Street, is one of the first foreclosed properties in Philadelphia to be rehabilitated through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1).

NSP1 provides grants to local governments for the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed or abandoned properties that might otherwise become sources of blight within their neighborhoods. Restored homes are resold in an effort to minimize abandonment and stabilize communities. The home on Markland Street was selected for rehabilitation by the RDA because it is a foreclosed home within an otherwise stable neighborhood.

“The rehabilitation of this home is part of a larger strategy to revitalize our neighborhoods,” said Quiñones-Sánchez. “NSP1 funding is helping to strengthen communities throughout Philadelphia.”

“This is a great success story,” added Gillen. “It’s creating jobs and putting a vacant house back into use.”

In addition to creating job opportunities for Philadelphians, NSP1 places an emphasis on engaging minority-owned businesses. Two such businesses are J.C. Construction Corporation run by Juan Diaz and Un-Lead It Environmental, led by Raymond Smith. Both companies are subcontractors with AET Enterprises LLC owned by Tom and Amy Moses, a husband and wife team who responded to RDA’s NSP1 Request for Proposals when their construction work was reduced due to the declining economy.

AET Enterprises is the primary contractor for all NSP1 home renovations. J.C. Construction began working as a subcontractor with AET on 4034 Markland St. and is serving as general contractor on two other homes currently under construction.

Raymond Smith will also be working on these homes in his capacity as a state-certified lead removal and abatement expert. Smith says he is “grateful for the opportunity to work with NSP1” especially since a home free of lead-based paint is so important for the family moving in.

The Redevelopment Authority expects to rehab nearly 180 homes before the program is finished. This will create more than 150 construction jobs. There are currently 26 properties under construction in neighborhoods across the City of Philadelphia. Markland Street is the second property in Philadelphia that has been completed. The first NSP1 home was completed in December 2009 with the rehabilitation of a formerly vacant home in Mayfair.

The Markland Street property was purchased in September 2009 for $68,000. It is under an agreement of sale for $115,000. The purchaser, a first-time homebuyer, was required to undergo housing counseling as part of the NSP1 program.

The City received nearly $20 million in NSP1 funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in January 2009. NSP1 funds are administered by the Redevelopment Authority.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Report Calls for Preserving and Protecting Philadelphia’s Vital Neighborhoods;
New Public-Private Partnership Featured

Despite signs that the recession may be winding down, there are still tremendous challenges for cities like Philadelphia to maintain the vitality of its neighborhoods – particularly middle-income neighborhoods.

A new report commissioned by NeighborhoodsNow highlights this issue and will be the central discussion topic at a forum where the report will be released and a new public-private partnership dedicated to stabilizing neighborhoods at risk of decline will be announced.

The report – “Protecting Philadelphia’s Backbone: A Strategy for Vital Neighborhoods” – will be released on Tuesday, March 23, in conjunction with a presentation and panel discussion.  The event, which will run from 9 to 11 a.m. at Girard College’s Library Hall, is sponsored by the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia (Preservation Alliance) and NeighborhoodsNow.  Among those speaking at the meeting will be Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the authors of the report, Paul Brophy of Brophy & Reilly, a renowned consulting firm specializing in community development, and Tom Burns, managing director of Urban Ventures Group, Inc. in Philadelphia.

The newly formed “Vital Neighborhoods” partnership – which consists of OHCD and the Preservation Alliance – hopes to implement many of the ideas brought out in the new report.  The document emphasizes the need to maintain stability and encourage growth in these vital or middle-market neighborhoods. Three neighborhoods that were selected to be part of the program are Fairmount, East Mount Airy and Fishtown.
The city (OHCD) is investing $200,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds for the first year and will participate on the soon-to-be-developed advisory committee that will help guide the program.  OHCD, working closely with NeighborhoodsNow, also made the decision to secure the Preservation Alliance to manage the program. The Preservation Alliance plans to collaborate with the Center for Architecture and the Community Design Collaborative to extend the reach of the program. In recent years, the Preservation Alliance, under the leadership of John Gallery, has developed a strong neighborhood preservation program that includes workshops for homeowners and community organizations.

“Keeping these neighborhoods ‘vital’ means that the residents feel it makes economic and emotional sense for them to continue to invest their time, energy, and money there,” Brophy writes in the report.  “Maintaining the health of these neighborhoods benefits the city as a whole.  These areas are now largely stable, which means they contribute to the overall economy of the city.  But it’s clear they could easily decline, particularly in the wake of the economic downturn.”

“The ‘Vital Neighborhoods’ work builds on past revitalization efforts and existing neighborhood assets,” said Deborah McColloch, Director, City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “By involving residents in improving and marketing their neighborhoods, we anticipate a big return on a modest investment.”

There will be presentations at the March 23 event by leaders of the community development corporations of the three neighborhoods that are implementing tactics of the new “Vital Neighborhoods” program and they will talk about their signature programs.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion led by Tom Ferrick, former Philadelphia Inquirer city columnist and now senior editor of Metropolis, including representatives from TD Bank, OHCD and a neighborhood activist.

Among the innovative suggestions in the report are:

  • Implementing a strategy of preserving strong-but-threatened neighborhoods in addition to investing in struggling ones
  • Marketing neighborhoods to those who may want to move in – keeping in mind the types of people who would want to be in a particular area
  • Helping residents themselves to be salespeople for their neighborhoods

 “A modest investment of scarce public dollars would support this administration’s declared goal for population growth and also help prevent further erosion of the city’s property tax base,” writes Brophy in the report.  “Benjamin Franklin said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ when he established Philadelphia’s fledgling fire companies, and this has never been more true for our city.

“To follow this adage by investing in our vital neighborhoods is to protect one of the city’s most precious resources,” the report wrote.  “Ensuring their stability is to ensure Philadelphia’s future.”

Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010


Philadelphia, January 14, 2010Today U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that the City of Philadelphia has been awarded $43.9 million in Recovery Act funding to stabilize neighborhoods with high levels of foreclosure, vacant housing and the blight those factors can cause. The award is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“Philadelphia is famous as a city of neighborhoods and today’s announcement is a huge boost for communities across this city,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “We have fought for every dollar possible from the Recovery Act to help create jobs and invest in Philadelphia.  These funds will enable us to build new affordable homes and to put more Philadelphians back to work.”

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan paid tribute to the application submitted by the City of Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia took a strategic approach in their NSP application,” said Secretary Donovan.  “The City’s plan to concentrate investments in a way that can serve as a catalyst for revitalization made for a strong proposal.  This $44 million Recovery Act NSP grant will help create jobs and rebuild neighborhoods in Philadelphia.” 

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this round of NSP grants is being awarded competitively to applicants who developed the most innovative ideas to address the impact the housing crisis has had on local communities, while demonstrating that they have the capacity to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.

Mayor Nutter particularly thanked Philadelphia’s Congressional delegation who worked hard to pass the Recovery Act and to support the City of Philadelphia’s competitive applications.

“It is because of the tremendous work and partnership of Senator Casey, Senator Specter, Congressman Brady, Congressman Fattah, and Congresswoman Schwartz that we have been awarded this money to invest and create jobs in neighborhoods across Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Once again Philadelphia’s federal delegation is bringing much needed investment back to this city from Washington, D.C.”

“A disturbing byproduct of the increased rate of foreclosures is that entire communities are being harmed and local economies are being dragged down,” said Senator Casey.  “These Recovery funds going to the City of Philadelphia are another example of the way that the Recovery Act is positively affecting the Commonwealth and they are a step in the right direction towards keeping families in their homes and stabilizing neighborhoods quickly so more people and communities don’t suffer.”

“This stimulus funding is great news for the people of Philadelphia,” Senator Specter said.  “The significant funding will help Mayor Nutter and the City to implement their innovative plan to rebuild and revitalize hard-hit neighborhoods, as well create affordable housing and jobs across the community.”

“I’m pleased to see my constituent’s tax dollars bringing real relief to our neighborhoods and the people who live in them,” said Congressman Brady.  “Mayor Nutter and his team put together an application we were proud to support. It will make a huge difference in Phila.”

Congressman Chaka Fattah said, “The $44 million HUD grant means more Philadelphians will be able to find work, more will be able purchase a home, more foreclosed properties will be bought and more neighborhoods will see an infusion of much needed capital. It’s a win for our citizens, our city and our communities. I’m glad to have been instrumental in securing this much needed funding for Philadelphia.”

The NSP program is being overseen by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority under contract with the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development.  In July Mayor Nutter showcased the potential benefits of the NSP program when he led HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims on a tour of revitalized neighborhoods and those that could be revitalized with NSP funding.

The City’s approach represents an attempt to build on the strengths of some Philadelphia neighborhoods and institutions through targeted investments, and to expand successful neighborhoods into adjacent areas that have been left behind over the last 15 years.  This approach has been successful in a number of city neighborhoods where focused investments have led to affordable homeownership and rental housing as well as increased property values.

The City’s proposal sought funding for four coordinated approaches to neighborhood revitalization, all set within the context of a broader array of planned activities.  The four activities that will be used either individually or, in some cases, together, are:

1. Homebuyer Incentives
Financial incentives will be offered to owner-occupant buyers of foreclosed homes.

2. Purchase and Renovation
The City’s first NSP program will be expanded to purchase, renovate and sell additional foreclosed and long-term vacant houses.

3. Gap-Financing for Market-Catalyzing Anchor Developments
Gap financing for affordable new construction housing on blighted, vacant land and for the redevelopment of key occupied or vacant foreclosed, multifamily structures. This activity will be used in eligible areas where selective reinvestment can affect neighborhood value.

4. Demolition
Selective demolition of blighted structures, especially old industrial or commercial buildings in neighborhoods that are now residential.

“This was a complicated application process,” said Nutter.  “We are pleased that HUD shares our optimism for Philadelphia and recognized that we put a very good application together.”


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