In Cindy Bass, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA — At the Council Meeting held Thursday, Dec. 15, Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District)  will have legislation introduced to incentivize the development of affordable housing along the North Broad Street Corridor through tax exemptions. Council President Clarke’s legislation targets blighted areas in the 5th and 8th Council Districts, and is introduced pursuant to the Affordable Housing Unit Tax Exemption Act, sponsored by PA Rep. Jared Solomon (202nd) and approved by the Legislature.

Rep. Solomon’s legislation authorizes “local taxing authorities to provide for tax exemptions for improvements to deteriorated areas and dwellings to incentivize the creation and improvement of affordable housing units.”

Under the legislation that Council President Clarke will have introduced by Councilmember Cindy Bass (8th District) this morning, the area eligible for the tax abatement, in exchange for a commitment to build affordable housing, has these boundaries:

“The area bounded by John F. Kennedy Blvd., 15th Street, Roosevelt Boulevard, Old York Road, Pike Street, 13th Street, Germantown Avenue, Ontario Street, 13th Street, Clearfield Street, 12th Street, Glenwood Avenue, 13th Street, Spring Garden Street, and Broad Street”

The affordable housing commitment is defined in the bill as:

“Affordable housing unit.” (1) A multi-unit residential dwelling where at least 30% of the residential units meet all of the following: (i) Are rent-restricted. (ii) Are occupied by an individual or family whose income is not more than 60% of area median income. (2) The term includes single family residences that are subject to deed restrictions and occupied by an individual or family whose income is not more than 60% of the area median gross income.

The legislation will apply to developments along the North Broad Street Corridor in the 5th District (Clarke) and portions of the 8th District (Bass).

Council President Clarke indicated the bill introduced in Council could be viewed as a starting point, and further expansions of the tax exemption-for-affordable housing development were possible.

“We’re grateful for Rep. Jared Solomon’s work on a statewide level to bring us to this day and this legislation to generate more affordable housing for Philadelphia residents in the 5th District and 8th District as well,” said Council President Clarke at a news conference.

“Today we work together – City and State — to use every tool possible to create more affordable housing in the City and across our Commonwealth,” Rep. Solomon said. “By doing so, we send a message to all Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians – decent, safe housing is a fundamental right.”

“Philadelphia residents in too many communities are being priced out of home ownership or rentals. They’re facing gentrification — a consequence of luxury housing developments that oftentimes have been built without any consideration of the current neighbors’ needs or wishes,” said Councilmember Bass. “It is fitting, therefore, that Council President’s legislation zeroes in on a specific portion of North Broad Street. The location, which partially includes the 8th district, which I serve, deserves revitalization and stabilization. This can be best achieved through the tax exemptions this legislation provides, which I believe will incentivize the growth of housing our constituents can afford.”

Council President Clarke and Councilmember Bass were joined today by Maria Gonzalez, President of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) and a longtime advocate for affordable housing. Also in attendance: Officials with Habitat for Humanity, the Building Industry Association, and the Oxford Circle Christian CDC.

The legislation today comes at an energized moment in City Council and the city, as groundbreakings have begun for more affordable housing being built through Council’s $400 Million Neighborhood Preservation Initiative.

Earlier in the week, Council President Clarke joined Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson in Grays Ferry, where groundbreaking took place on a development of 25 new affordable homes that will sell for $230,000.

Through NPI and its “Turn The Key” Affordable Home Ownership Program, the plan is 1,000 affordable homes for sale to qualifying Philadelphians. Turn The Key includes a preference for city workers.

“There’s an urgent need for more affordable housing in Philadelphia,” Council President Clarke said. “Whether it’s built through NPI’s Turn The Key program, or is incentivized along the North Broad Corridor by this legislation, the goal remains the same – more affordable homes that Philadelphia residents can afford to buy, live in, and build generational wealth for themselves and their families.”

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Watch Thursday’s news conference:

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