COUNCIL APPROVES LEGISLATION FROM COUNCILMEMBER GAUTHIER TO PRESERVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS
City Council has granted final approval to Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s (3rd District) “People’s Preservation Package” legislation, which gives the city and affordable housing providers additional tools to preserve government-subsidized affordable housing, without disrupting the market.
The legislation – Bills 221017 and 221018 – approved by Council on Thursday:
- Expands whom affordable housing property owners must notify when they intend to end affordability.
- Gives tenant organizations, the city, and affordable housing providers 45 days to make a purchase offer before the property can be publicly marketed for sale.
- Gives tenant organizations, the city, and affordable housing providers the opportunity to match a market-rate offer, for the purpose of keeping a site affordable.
- Enables the city to maintain a directory of affordable housing properties and track affordability expiration dates.
More than 12,000 affordable housing units are at risk of going offline over the next decade. To prevent Philadelphia from entering an even more desperate housing affordability crisis than it is already in, the City must take a bolder and more proactive approach to affordable housing preservation, Councilmember Gauthier said.
“The city needs to arm itself to combat looming affordable housing opt-outs,” said Councilmember Gauthier. “The People’s Preservation Package empowers the city and its partners to keep vulnerable families in their homes. I thank my City Council colleagues for recognizing the urgency of preserving affordable housing!”
The tools in the People’s Preservation Package are based on best practices from municipalities like Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C., which have all successfully preserved affordable housing developments using similar tools. The package also received substantial input from affordable housing stakeholders in Philadelphia.
Giving the city and its partners the right of first offer and the right to a “matched agreement of sale” creates two opportunities for affordable housing developments to remain affordable without placing an undue burden on the owner. Expanding notice requirements ensures tenants, the city, and the community have time to prepare for an impending expiration, increasing the likelihood of preservation. A citywide directory of affordable housing developments is necessary to prepare a comprehensive plan to preserve affordable housing.
Affordability opt-outs primarily occur in communities with proximity to robust amenities and opportunities. Expiration is a dehumanizing – and in many cases a life-threatening – process for tenants. Affordable housing developments become communities unto themselves, an oasis in rapidly changing neighborhoods that remain safe for the most vulnerable neighbors. When they disappear from a neighborhood, their former tenants tend to as well.
COUNCIL TO HOLD NEIGHBORHOOD HEARING ON MAY 9 ON OPIOID CRISIS AND A “MARSHALL PLAN” FOR KENSINGTON
On Tuesday, May 9, City Council’s Committee on Public Safety will hold a special neighborhood public hearing to consider legislation addressing the opioid crisis in the city’s Kensington neighborhood.
Resolution No. 230120 calls for an examination of the area’s “open-air drug market and other barriers to clean, safe, crime-free streets in Kensington.” Resolution No. 230121 calls for the establishment for a “Marshall Stabilization and Recovery Plan” to combat the issues facing Kensington and surrounding areas. Both resolutions were introduced by Councilmember Quetcy Lozada whose 7th District includes Kensington, and was co-sponsored by a majority of Councilmembers.
The neighborhood public hearing will take place at the Conwell Middle School, located at 1849 E. Clearfield Street, to provide accessibility and opportunity for Kensington residents to attend and give testimony. The hearing will start at 5:30 pm.
“You hear about Kensington in the news all the time, but it’s different when you live there every day,” Councilmember Lozada said in Council this week. “Families are facing enormous challenges daily, and we must commit ourselves to doing much more as a city.”
COUNCILMEMBER JOHNSON CALLS FOR HEARING INTO STATE OF PRE-K EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IN PHILLY
The resolution by Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) authorizes the Committee on Education to hold hearings to evaluate existing support services for Early Childhood Education and Pre-K Centers and Providers, and to examine the role of high-quality Early Childhood Education and Pre-K opportunities in addressing childhood poverty and promoting the future academic success of children in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has a large, diverse population of young children, with more than 100,000 children under the age of 5 living in the city, the resolution states.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Pre-K programs are important to addressing childhood poverty and promoting future academic success of children because they provide children with a strong foundation of academic and social skills.
Children from low-income families often start school with fewer resources and experiences than their more affluent peers. This achievement gap can have long-term consequences, including lower academic achievement, higher dropout rates, and limited job opportunities, according to the resolution.
Fully funding and supporting ECE and Pre-K programs helps to address this gap by providing children with access to quality education that can help to level the playing field and give all children the opportunity to succeed.
It is imperative to evaluate the availability and accessibility of quality early childhood education and Pre-K services in Philadelphia, as well as the best practices for supporting early childhood education and Pre-K centers, including strategies for engaging families and caregivers in the education process, the resolution concludes.
SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA…
SAVE THE DATE! 📢
Need help finding:
– Summer Camp?
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Join us at the Parent and Teen Resource Fair on May 6 to get the resources you need for your children to thrive!
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— City of Philadelphia (@PhiladelphiaGov) May 4, 2023
IN OTHER NEWS
Council Approves Resolution Urging State Legislature to Approve Commonsense Gun Laws for Pennsylvania. This resolution received final approval in Council this week. Sponsored by Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr., it urged the PA General Assembly to pass a package of commonsense gun violence prevention measures, including lost or stolen handgun reporting; closing a remaining loophole in the state’s existing background checks law; and legislation establishing an emergency risk protection order procedure to remove guns from someone’s possession. The House Judiciary Committee moved several of these bills out of committee recently, and the full House will undertake the bills soon.
Council Resolution Honors Longtime Municipal Union Leader. The resolution, by Councilmember Jim Harrity (At Large), honors the lifetime of work by Cathy Scott, the longtime head of District Council 47 of AFSCME, the city’s white-collar labor union. “Catherine G. Scott had dedicated her professional life to advocating for the rights of workers throughout Philadelphia and beyond, and her policies have achieved tangible results which have meaningfully benefited the lives of all Philadelphians,” the resolution states, of the District Council 47 leader who led the organization for 10 years before retiring last year. Ms. Scott currently serves as Vice President of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and is a member of the Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women.
OTHER SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE COUNCIL WEEK
The next Stated Meeting of City Council is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia City Hall, Room 400 and will air on Xfinity Ch. 64, Fios Channel 40 and stream at www.PHLCouncil.com/watch.
Featured Photo: Jared Piper/PHLCouncil