MAYOR NUTTER TO CELEBRATE FIVE YEARS OF INVESTING IN PHILADELPHIA’S NEIGHBORHOODS THROUGH THE HOUSING TRUST FUND, RELEASE OF REPORT ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND EXPENDITURES

MAYOR NUTTER TO CELEBRATE FIVE YEARS OF INVESTING IN PHILADELPHIA’S NEIGHBORHOODS THROUGH THE HOUSING TRUST FUND, RELEASE OF REPORT ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND EXPENDITURES

Philadelphia, September 22, 2010 – 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 the OHCD website at www.phila.gov/ohcd.

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