Housing Trust Fund Bills Clear Key Council Committee!

We’re one big step closer to a victory in our campaign to create Affordable Homes for a Growing Philly! On June 6th 2018, by a vote of 6 – 3, City Council’s Committee on Finance passed two bills that could lead to tens of millions more each year for the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund!

Bill No. 180351 creates a Construction Impact Tax of 1% to be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), and Bill No. 180347 sets up a new sub-fund of the HTF to receive and allocate the funds.  The Construction Impact Tax bill was introduced by Councilman Mark Squilla, was championed by Council President Darrell Clarke, and is part of a package spearheaded by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez to significantly boost affordable housing and create more mixed income communities that began with Bill No. 170678.

This 1% tax represents a first start in returning something to low- and moderate-income Philadelphians that have subsidized the building of high-end, market rate homes and apartments through the 10-Year Tax Abatement.  The tax is roughly equivalent to clawing back one year of the abatement subsidy.

PACDC continues to push that the bills be amended to provide a 100% rebate of the tax to affordable housing developments that serve homeowners at 80% Area Median Income (AMI) or below, or renters at 60% AMI and below.  We’re also pushing for setting aside half of the funds to serve households at or below 30% AMI.

Amendments made to the Construction Impact Tax bill in the Finance Committee include exempting from the tax new construction or significant rehab that qualifies for non-profit real estate tax exemption, as well as improvements to properties that don’t qualify for the 10-Year Tax Abatement.  A “Work Opportunity Tax Rebate” was also created to refund 25% of the tax if the project met certain workforce diversity standards.  The tax would be effective for building permits applied for after January 1, 2019.

PACDC was successful in pushing for amendments to the Housing Trust Fund sub-fund bill to ensure that the funds could be used for preservation of homes, thanks to support from Councilwoman Cherelle Parker.

We’ll post text of the amended bills to this site as soon as they’re made available from the City Council Clerk.

The bills now head to the full Council for consideration, and could be up for final passage as early as Thursday, June 14th.

We also expect that Councilwoman Sanchez will soon offer amendments on the Mixed Income Housing legislation, Bill No. 170678, to become a voluntary density bonus program that would incentivize on-site affordable units or payments-in-lieu to the Housing Trust Fund.  Taken together, these three bills represent a major victory for affordable housing!

Check out these articles about the hearing from PlanPhilly and Philly.com

You can read PACDC’s testimony, and that of our members, below:

Beth McConnell of PACDC

Will Gonzalez of CEIBA
Corrine O’Connell of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
Frederick Rivera of FINANTA
Kevin Musselman of People’s Emergency Center
Maria Gonzalez of HACE
Andrew Goodman of New Kensington CDC
Jennine Miller of Project HOME
Brandon Alcorn of Rebuilding Together Philadelphia
Majeedah Rashid of Nicetown CDC
Carolyn Placke of Philadelphia LISC