CONSTRUCTION TAX TO ADDRESS AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS AWAITS MAYOR KENNEY’S SIGNATURE

In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, Mark Squilla, News by PHL Council

‘Putting Philadelphians First’ Program to Expand Homeownership Opportunities & Build New Affordable Apartments Approved by Council

Philadelphia, June 21, 2018 – City Council on Thursday voted to authorize the Putting Philadelphians First legislative package to raise approximately $23 million annually for the Housing Trust Fund, which supports the production and preservation of affordable housing in Philadelphia.

Bill No. 180347 would support affordable housing initiatives for individuals and families who live above the poverty line but are too income- or credit-limited to afford new and market rate housing options. Funds would also support expansion of down payment and closing cost assistance to individuals and families who are committed to making Philadelphia their home but face obstacles rooted in discrimination, such as credit score or absence of inherited wealth. Bill No. 180347 was approved 13 to 4.

Bill No. 180351, which was approved 9 to 8, authorizes a 1% Construction Impact Tax on all new construction with exemptions for nonprofit and affordable housing development. Affordable housing constructed by for-profit entities would be subject to the tax, but would also qualify for City support via the Housing Trust Fund.

“I am incredibly thankful to our partners in the fight to create a more equitable Philadelphia for working with us for more than a year to craft a fair and sensible solution to create more affordable housing,” Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez (7th District) said.

“The Mixed-Income Housing Bonus will help growing communities remain diverse and inclusive and reflective of our population as a City. The companies that are on the front lines of our current construction boom know that neighborhood diversity is good for our City as a whole. I am so grateful to the Building Industry Association and others in the business community that shared our vision for a boom that benefits everyone.”

“This City that drew the Pope, the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and is in the running to host Amazon’s second headquarters is clearly attracting new residents. So we must do everything we can to make sure people starting their adult lives as well as empty nesters who are moving to Philadelphia can afford to stay here for the long haul,” Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District) said. “New revenues from the Construction Impact Tax will also support the Philly 1st homebuyers program, which will help those currently stuck in a rental market they are less and less able to afford to achieve the security and stability that comes with owning your own home.”

Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) added: “Most Philadelphians simply cannot afford $400,000 new construction homes or $2,500 monthly rentals in the parts of the City that have good access to transportation, strong neighborhood schools, and other amenities. The Putting Philadelphians First package is a major step toward addressing both lingering and emerging inequities in housing access. City Council has once again identified a creative, equitable solution to a universal problem that used to receive more reliable state and federal support, but has not in recent years. I am grateful to Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez, Councilmember Squilla, and to our colleagues who voted to address the affordability crisis with urgency. I now ask Mayor Kenney to not stand in the way of progress and opportunity for vulnerable constituents, and to allow these bills to become law.”

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