Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter visited 623 N. 56th Street in West Philadelphia, one of the forty-four vacant or foreclosed homes from across the City rehabilitated with Federal stimulus dollars. The City of Philadelphia received $16.8 million for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and an additional $3.75 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The program is administrated by the Redevelopment Authority (RDA). Philadelphia’s NSP focuses on neighborhoods selected by the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) based on historic foreclosure data, indications of predatory lending and the impact of vacant foreclosures on the value of residences in the surrounding neighborhoods.

“The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is improving the quality of life in Philadelphia’s communities while creating valuable job opportunities,” said Mayor Nutter. “These properties are a tangible example of stimulus dollars at work in Philadelphia, and through the NSP initiative, the number of foreclosures in Philadelphia has been reduced.”

The RDA acquired the property at 623 N. 56th Street from Wells Fargo on October 2, 2009 and renovations commenced on November 3, 2009 by the developer Philadelphia Neighborhood Housing Services (PNHS). PNHS has been an active developer in NSP since July 1, 2009 and currently has six properties in development. The renovations were completed on July 16, 2010 by contractor PMH Enterprises, a family-run, minority-owned business founded in 2007.  Completed NSP properties are available for purchase at fair market value by individuals who do not have an income exceeding 120% of the area median income; the income limit is $65,750 for a single person and $93,950 for a household of four. Eligible buyers must also occupy the property as their primary residence.

“The Neighborhood Stimulus Program is the product of President Obama’s foresight for neighborhood revitalization, block by block, and his strategy to provide dignified work for Philadelphians, job by job. This program is essential to the sustainability and development of Philadelphia communities,” said Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. “Citizens cherish where they reside, and it is imperative that those of us who provide the direction of funding place resources in neighborhood enhancement, where it can be promptly utilized and appreciated.”

“PNHS is proud to be associated with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  Our mission is to preserve and revitalize targeted neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia.  The NSP program provides us with a valuable tool in our efforts to achieve our objectives block-by-block,” said Bernard Hawkins, Executive Director the PNHS.  “By renovating foreclosed, abandoned dilapidated eyesore properties, PNHS is able to preserve the structural integrity of the neighborhood while providing quality, affordable homeownership opportunities to low and moderate income families.”

The NSP program hopes to accomplish four important goals:

  • Reduce Blight: Every time a house is rehabbed, NSP eliminates a blighted property in a neighborhood, preventing further neighborhood deterioration.  Research by the Wharton School has found that a single blighted property decreases the value of each surrounding property by more than $3000;
  • Provide Jobs: The Program provides construction jobs for workers who are hired by the developer – providing much-needed employment in a slow economy;
  • Improve the Accessibility of the Housing Stock: NSP provides a homeowner with a renovated home in a neighborhood of their choice; and
  • Sustain Small Business: The program provides a $20,000 developer fee to the CDC or the developer in charge of the project – giving them an extra source of operating income during this recession.

The property received approximately $99,000 in rehabilitation and improvement costs. The home has been fully renovated and abated for lead-based paint. The renovations include new kitchen and bath, doors and windows, roofing system, plumbing and heating, thankless hot water heater and zoned heating. The property is currently being marketed for sale to income-eligible homebuyers who complete eight hours of housing counseling from a HUD-certified housing counseling agency at a cost of $90,000.

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