PHILADELPHIA AWARDED $44 MILLION IN RECOVERY ACT FUNDING TO REVITALIZE NEIGHBORHOODS AND CREATE JOBS

Today U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that the City of Philadelphia has been awarded $43.9 million in Recovery Act funding to stabilize neighborhoods with high levels of foreclosure, vacant housing and the blight those factors can cause. The award is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“Philadelphia is famous as a city of neighborhoods and today’s announcement is a huge boost for communities across this city,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “We have fought for every dollar possible from the Recovery Act to help create jobs and invest in Philadelphia. These funds will enable us to build new affordable homes and to put more Philadelphians back to work.”

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan paid tribute to the application submitted by the City of Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia took a strategic approach in their NSP application,” said Secretary Donovan. “The City’s plan to concentrate investments in a way that can serve as a catalyst for revitalization made for a strong proposal. This $44 million Recovery Act NSP grant will help create jobs and rebuild neighborhoods in Philadelphia.”

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this round of NSP grants is being awarded competitively to applicants who developed the most innovative ideas to address the impact the housing crisis has had on local communities, while demonstrating that they have the capacity to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.

Mayor Nutter particularly thanked Philadelphia’s Congressional delegation who worked hard to pass the Recovery Act and to support the City of Philadelphia’s competitive applications.

“It is because of the tremendous work and partnership of Senator Casey, Senator Specter, Congressman Brady, Congressman Fattah, and Congresswoman Schwartz that we have been awarded this money to invest and create jobs in neighborhoods across Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “Once again Philadelphia’s federal delegation is bringing much needed investment back to this city from Washington, D.C.”

“A disturbing byproduct of the increased rate of foreclosures is that entire communities are being harmed and local economies are being dragged down,” said Senator Casey. “These Recovery funds going to the City of Philadelphia are another example of the way that the Recovery Act is positively affecting the Commonwealth and they are a step in the right direction towards keeping families in their homes and stabilizing neighborhoods quickly so more people and communities don’t suffer.”

“This stimulus funding is great news for the people of Philadelphia,” Senator Specter said. “The significant funding will help Mayor Nutter and the City to implement their innovative plan to rebuild and revitalize hard-hit neighborhoods, as well create affordable housing and jobs across the community.”

“I’m pleased to see my constituent’s tax dollars bringing real relief to our neighborhoods and the people who live in them,” said Congressman Brady. “Mayor Nutter and his team put together an application we were proud to support. It will make a huge difference in Phila.”

Congressman Chaka Fattah said, “The $44 million HUD grant means more Philadelphians will be able to find work, more will be able purchase a home, more foreclosed properties will be bought and more neighborhoods will see an infusion of much needed capital. It’s a win for our citizens, our city and our communities. I’m glad to have been instrumental in securing this much needed funding for Philadelphia.”

The NSP program is being overseen by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority under contract with the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development. In July Mayor Nutter showcased the potential benefits of the NSP program when he led HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims on a tour of revitalized neighborhoods and those that could be revitalized with NSP funding.

The City’s approach represents an attempt to build on the strengths of some Philadelphia neighborhoods and institutions through targeted investments, and to expand successful neighborhoods into adjacent areas that have been left behind over the last 15 years. This approach has been successful in a number of city neighborhoods where focused investments have led to affordable homeownership and rental housing as well as increased property values.

The City’s proposal sought funding for four coordinated approaches to neighborhood revitalization, all set within the context of a broader array of planned activities. The four activities that will be used either individually or, in some cases, together, are:

1. Homebuyer Incentives
Financial incentives will be offered to owner-occupant buyers of foreclosed homes.

2. Purchase and Renovation
The City’s first NSP program will be expanded to purchase, renovate and sell additional foreclosed and long-term vacant houses.

3. Gap-Financing for Market-Catalyzing Anchor Developments
Gap financing for affordable new construction housing on blighted, vacant land and for the redevelopment of key occupied or vacant foreclosed, multifamily structures. This activity will be used in eligible areas where selective reinvestment can affect neighborhood value.

4. Demolition
Selective demolition of blighted structures, especially old industrial or commercial buildings in neighborhoods that are now residential.

“This was a complicated application process,” said Nutter. “We are pleased that HUD shares our optimism for Philadelphia and recognized that we put a very good application together.”

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