Philadelphia, September 10, 2015 – Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) introduced legislation to increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund by $2 million for the 2016 fiscal year.
“Between 2016 and 2020, the City of Philadelphia will collect approximately $60 million in real estate taxes from properties with tax abatements that have expired. The additional net revenue collected by 2025 will reach approximately $300 million in the General Fund alone,” Councilman Johnson said. “Going forward, we must commit a portion of the City’s share of this revenue to programs that help low-income families stay in their homes. The ten-year tax abatement has brought forth the largest real estate boom in decades, so it is only fair that we use a portion of the revenue created by this wave of development to maintain a level of affordability.”
The legislation designates the $2 million in increased funding to EnergyFIT Philly, a program that aims to preserve affordable housing through the coordination of home repair and energy services in neighborhoods with a high percentage of homes in poor condition.
“The housing boom some of our neighborhoods are experiencing is welcome, but the reality is Philadelphia is still a row home city with many longtime, low-income residents,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “Council’s comprehensive, equitable growth strategy targets both areas where new housing stock is needed and areas where aging housing stock can be updated in order to ensure all neighborhoods are communities of choice. EnergyFIT Philly has been a great partner in promoting energy-efficient home upgrades and affordability for our residents, and I am excited to make this additional investment.”
Of the 331,000 row homes in Philadelphia, 38 percent are owned by low-income residents, a high percentage relative to other large cities. Under the EnergyFIT Philly program, operated by the Energy Coordinating Agency, low-income homes that are too structurally deficient to qualify for weatherization programs are preserved and stabilized. Households save between 25 percent to 50 percent on energy costs, helping to prevent displacement of low-income residents.