CITY COUNCIL INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO GIVE CITY WORKERS A PREFERENCE IN BUYING AFFORDABLE WORKFORCE HOUSING

In Cherelle Parker, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA, PA  – Responding to rising housing prices, City Council leadership today introduced legislation in Council to set a preference for city municipal workers seeking to buy affordable workforce housing.

The legislation, introduced by Council’s Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) on behalf of Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), would create a buying preference for “qualified City of Philadelphia employees”. The legislation directs the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development to draft and set “regulations governing the manner in which municipal employees and other preferences shall be applied within its workforce housing programs.”

“The costs of buying a home in Philadelphia go up every year,” said Council President Clarke. “As more and more neighborhoods gentrify, the price of buying a home escalates. For a city municipal workforce that largely is required to reside in Philadelphia, it’s only fair and equitable to provide a housing preference for income-qualified city employees.”

Workforce housing is generally designed for middle-income workers in such professions as municipal government employees, health care workers and retail clerks. City housing programs already include successful initiatives to provide qualified first-time home-buyers with grants to help with their closing costs and down payments. This preference for municipal workers is designed to provide assistance to city employees who are bedrock residents and members of their neighborhoods.

“Listen, if you’re a city employee and at a certain pay grade, you are going to qualify for this program,” said Majority Leader Parker. “We want everyone who works in a municipal capacity to be able to meet the residency requirement. Whether you are a cop, a sanitation worker, or a secretary, becoming a homeowner in the city where you work is not going to be an obstacle based on the fluctuating housing market. This ordinance helps to create the community we seek and the one we need.”

The municipal employee workforce housing preference legislation will be referred to a Council committee for a public hearing.

This legislation comes at a time when Council and the city continue to move forward with next steps in implementing the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, an ambitious $400 million program to build new affordable housing, help first-time homebuyers purchase existing housing stock, assist renters in avoiding eviction, revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors, and an array of other initiatives.

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