Policy

PACDC advocates for policies that support vibrant and diverse neighborhoods across Philadelphia that equitably meet the needs of all community members, preserve and enhance community assets, and foster a stronger city and region. Vibrant and diverse Neighborhoods are ones that:

•             Ensure that neighborhood residents and other stakeholders play an integral role in determining the future of their community;

•             Ensure that lower-income and long-term residents and other stakeholders benefit from neighborhood improvements;

•             Retain existing and attract new public and private investment, residents, and businesses;

•             Provide a range of housing opportunities to benefit households at a variety of income levels;

•             Provide local access to goods, services and jobs; and

•             Sustain a mix of incomes and ethnicities over time.

This is why we are working to advance the ideas in our Equitable Development Policy Platform, a series of recommendations for improving Philadelphia’s neighborhoods in a way that benefits all Philadelphians. Our current priority is our campaign to at least double the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund to at least $25 million per year to address Philadelphia’s housing crisis.

To learn more about our Equitable Development Policy Platform click here.

To learn more about the Campaign to Double the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund and how you can play a part click here.

Affordable Homes for a Growing Philly

What's the issue?

Philadelphia is experiencing a building boom.  But new development is leading to rising rents and home prices that are out of reach for many low- and moderate-income Philadelphians. Some of our neighbors can no longer afford to stay in their neighborhoods, others are paying an unsustainably high percentage of their income on housing, and others can’t afford to choose to live in neighborhoods close to jobs, transportation, good schools, or other opportunities.

PACDC believes that everyone should benefit from a growing city, and that Philadelphia must become a model for equity and inclusion.  That’s why we support Mixed Income Housing, which would create more affordable home choices for low- and moderate- income Philadelphians.

How Mixed Income Housing Works

Mixed Income Housing requires that developers set aside a percentage of housing units in new buildings for tenants or buyers who are low- or moderate-income, or make a payment to the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund.  In return, developers can access off-sets like density bonuses to build more units than otherwise would be allowed.

Developers in Philadelphia already get another valuable off-set, the 10-Year Property Tax Abatement, which can be worth thousands of dollars for developers of a single condo, or tens of millions of dollars for large apartment buildings. Mixed Income Housing is one way developers can begin to offer a return on investment to Philadelphians who’ve been footing the bill for that subsidy program for more than 17 years.

By providing the homes on site at the development, low- and moderate- income Philadelphians can secure quality homes they can afford in higher-income neighborhoods.  By making a payment to the Housing Trust Fund, non-profits can use those funds to improve our lower-income neighborhoods by creating more affordable homes or preserving or repairing existing affordable homes, and helping our neighbors who are facing homelessness.

More than 500 similar programs exist across the U.S., from big cities, to small towns, urban, rural and suburban.  It’s time for Mixed Income Housing in Philadelphia!

Mixed Income Housing Bill Introduced in City Council!

On June 22, 2017, Bill No. 170678 to create a Mixed Income Housing Program in Philadelphia was introduced into City Council by Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, Council President Clarke, Councilmembers Blackwell and Johnson.  PACDC is working to build support for the bill among members of Council, the Kenney Administration, and other stakeholders.

Bill No 170678 would require that new developments of 10 or more residential units set aside 10% of those units for income restricted tenants or buyers at 30%, 50% and 80% of Area Median Income (depending on the location of the units, and whether they are for rent or to buy), or pay a fee to the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund.  The units would remain affordable for 99-years, guaranteeing that they would be available for generations of Philadelphians!  The bill would provide developers with density bonuses as a way to offset the cost of providing the affordable units.  Check out this fact sheet produced by Councilwoman Sanchez on the proposed bill, and read this press release.  Show your support by endorsing the campaign below!

Endorse the campaign!

Endorse our Affordable Homes for a Growing Philly campaign by clicking this link.  Then share it with your friends!  City Council and Mayor Kenney will only adopt Mixed Income Housing policies if they hear from you!

Equitable Development

What is this about?

On February 18, 2015 PACDC was joined by dozens of civic and community leaders in releasing our platform Beyond Gentrification, Toward Equitable Neighborhoods:  An Equitable Development Policy Agenda for Philadelphia. The platform called for a pro-growth strategy that confronts structural and institutional forms of inequality by creating sustained equality for low- and moderate- income Philadelphians.  We encouraged candidates for Mayor and City Council to champion these ideas and build a more equitable city.  Because Philadelphia does better when we all do better.

A survey of press coverage:

“PACDC Hopes Candidates will Focus on Equitable Development,” PlanPhilly

“Philly Needs to Embrace Equitable Development,” Metro

“Philly CDCs Call for Strong Commitments from the Next Mayor,” Generocity

 

Equitable Development Op-Eds on PlanPhilly:

“Philadelphia Policy Makers Must Boost Affordable Home Investments and Strategies,” Maria Gonzalez

“Addressing Dispalcement: The Business of Community Development,” John Chin & Sarah Yeung

“CDC Tax Credit is a Transformative Tool for Neighborhoods,” Alex Balloon

“Small Business, Big Impact: Funding for Philly’s Neighborhood Commercial Corridors is Critical for Vibrant Communities,” Robin Kohles

“Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Advisory Committees: First Responders in the Fight Against Poverty,” Majeedah Rashid

Inclusive Communities

Strong neighborhoods are made up of residents who care about their communities, welcome new inhabitants and embrace community-based organizations that provide a forum for input and action in order to create more inclusive neighborhoods.   I don’t understand the rest of this paragraph.  Are these things that exist? that we are recommending?  It doesn’t hang together and the reader gets lost – Through the Philadelphia Planning Commission’s Citizens Planning Institute, community residents should be given the knowledge and tools to participate in the Registered Community Organization (RCO) process and other planning and zoning decisions in effective, inclusive ways. Non-profit community, civic and neighborhood associations play a vital role in engaging neighborhood residents and connecting them to vital services and programs, yet are vastly under-resourced. The City should boost to $4 million per year its investment in Neighborhood Advisory Committees (NACs) and other neighborhood-based groups that engage the community. Market-rate development projects that receive public subsidies should be required to advance Equitable Development in a meaningful way.

 

Affordable Housing

Housing policies are a significant way we can attack economic segregation in Philadelphia. The new Administration must lead by creating a comprehensive housing strategy to address our city’s needs for quality affordable homes, including at least doubling dedicated funding for the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund to $25 million per year. We must boost strategies to end homelessness, build and preserve more affordable homeownership and rental homes in every part of the city, including homes that are permanently affordable, spur more market-rate development, and ensure that residents are not involuntarily displaced from the neighborhoods they call home. It’s time to review the 10-Year Property Tax Abatement to determine if it must be updated for our current real estate market.

Economic Development

If Center City is the heart of commerce in Philadelphia, our neighborhood commercial corridors are its economic veins. Funding for programs to improve the property conditions of stores, clean and green the corridors, organize shop owners, and market corridors should be boosted to $4 million per year with a mix of local and federal funds. The City should allocate $3 million in local funds to leverage another $1.5 million from the state to finance mixed-use developments on our neighborhood corridors that could help small businesses and residents alike. The Philadelphia CDC Tax Credit Program, which supports neighborhood economic development, should be expanded.

The next Mayor should continue and improve efforts to increase hiring of Minority, Women and Disabled Owned Business Enterprises (M/W/DBEs) and workers in projects where public funds are involved by maintaining a commitment to Equal Opportunity Plans (EOPs), and should expand EOPs to include goals for hiring of city residents. The next Mayor should also use his or her leadership to gain a commitment from developers and their contractors to create EOPs and reports for large projects that are not publicly subsidized. Large employers in Philadelphia have an important role to play in advancing Equitable Development, and the next Mayor should do more to bring them to the table by encouraging them to source more of their services locally, as well as prioritize hiring from the local workforce.

Displacement

One of the greatest fears about gentrification is involuntary displacement: long-time residents and small businesses that want to stay in their neighborhoods but can no longer afford rising rents or property taxes. There is much we don’t know about displacement: how many people does it affect and what happens to them if they are displaced? Policy makers need to collect better data to understand what’s happening in our neighborhoods and craft effective policy solutions, particularly for small business and residential renters for whom few protections exist. The existing measures to protect homeowners from displacement due to rising property taxes must be better promoted, and homeowners must be educated about the value of their growing asset and how to manage it in their own best interest. More can be done to help small business and residential renters to provide them with stability in improving communities, and give them more notice when rents are increasing.

Vacancy and Blight

Decades of disinvestment in some of our neighborhoods and declining conditions in oncestable neighborhoods have created a scourge of vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and poor property conditions, harming those that chose to remain, or who can’t afford to live in more attractive, safer neighborhoods. These blighted conditions also strip wealth from neighborhood property owners, as home values near vacant properties are decreased by an average of $8,000 according to a recent study1 . The City took major steps toward implementation of the Philadelphia Land Bank in 2014 in order to more strategically address vacant properties and get them into productive re-use more quickly, as well as improved Code enforcement on vacant properties in order to hold owners accountable to their neighbors. The next Council and Administration must maintain a strong commitment to both of these strategies, ensure that L&I has adequate resources to hold landlords accountable for poor property conditions, and help low-income homeowners become Code compliant through assistance with needed repairs.

Double The Housing Trust Fund

Join the Campaign

Click here to endorse the platform.

If you would like a downloadable version of this form click here.

About the campaign

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Join PACDC in our campaign to urge Mayor Kenney and City Council to Double the Housing Trust Fund by endorsing the campaign!

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About the HTF

The Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund was established in 2005 thanks to the efforts of PACDC and other advocates. In that time it has assisted over 27,000 households in addressing a range of housing needs from the production of new affordable units, home repair and adaptive modifications for the persons with disabilities, and programs designed to prevent and end homelessness.

 

Intended to generate local revenue, the HTF has been a vital source of funding to offset steep federal and state cuts to housing programs. Programs supported by the HTF have been critical to Philadelphia’s low-and moderate- income residents, but the need has far outpaced available resources with waiting lists measured in years or closed entirely. Now community leaders from across our city are joining together in calling to Double the Housing Trust Fund.

Whether it’s a single mother worried about the health of her children due to a deteriorating home, a veteran struggling with addiction who needs an opportunity to get back on their feet, a frail senior who needs a modification to be able to remain in their home, or a family on the brink of homelessness, they can’t wait for a safe, affordable home any longer. Join the campaign here.

To learn more about the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, read the recently released Ten Year Anniversary Report by clicking the image below:

 

Click Here to Read the Ten Year HTF Report

Commercial Corridors

Commercial Corridor Policy Agenda

In collaboration with PACDC’s Commercial Corridor Working Group, a gathering of twenty member organizations that work on-the-ground to strengthen small businesses and neighborhood shopping districts, we released this Policy Agenda in the spring of 2017.

Download a PDF of the full Commercial Corridor Policy Agenda here.

Neighborhood commercial corridors are the economic veins of our City.  They provide jobs and offer residents local access to needed goods and services.  When safe, clean and vibrant, they attract new residents to the surrounding residential area, which can lead to revitalization of the entire neighborhood.  In fact, research shows that commercial corridors that are in “good” or “excellent” condition increase home values by 36% within ¼ mile, but poor condition corridors decrease surrounding home values.

Through federal, state and local funds, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce has invested in programs that have made a significant positive impact on our corridors.  PACDC and its Commercial Corridor Working Group (CCWG) calls on City Council and the Kenney Administration to boost investment in programs that have been effective, and implement other policies that can help create more supportive environments for corridor-based small businesses.

Make Corridors Clean, Safe, and Attractive

Corridors that are safe, free of litter, and feature quality signage, landscaping and good property conditions attract foot traffic as well as business location and expansion.

Read more here.

Support Neighborhood-Based Small Businesses

Small businesses on our neighborhood corridors provide the goods and services that encourage residents to shop local, creating jobs and generating tax revenue.

These recommendations will create a better atmosphere for small business investment and growth.

Read more here.

Strengthen CDC Capacity for Economic Development

CDCs are on the front lines of supporting our neighborhood corridors. Corridor Managers facilitate physical improvements, connect small businesses with resources and programs, market the corridors to attract shoppers and more businesses, engage the community, oversee cleaning programs, and more.

Resources for these programs are very limited, and have not increased with inflation.  Boosting support for CDCs and their economic development activity will strengthen corridors and surrounding neighborhoods.

Read more here.

Improve Communication & Coordination Between City Agencies on Corridors

Many City agencies regularly work on our neighborhood corridors, but they’re not always as coordinated with each other, with merchant’s associations, or with CDCs as they could be.  These ideas will help create stronger communication and coordination, avoiding frustration, saving time, and strengthening confidence in local government.

Read more here.

Endorsers

Members of PACDC’s Commercial Corridor Working Group

  • Chestnut Hill CDC & BID
  • Community Design Collaborative
  • East Falls Development Corporation
  • Esperanza
  • Fairmount CDC
  • Frankfort CDC
  • Germantown United CDC
  • Impact Services Corporation
  • Mayfair CDC & BID
  • New Kensington CDC
  • North 5th Street Revitalization Project
  • Old City District
  • People’s Emergency Center
  • Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
  • Philadelphia LISC
  • PhillyVIP
  • South Street Head House District
  • Tacony CDC
  • The Enterprise Center
  • The Village of Arts & Humanities

Other Endorsing PACDC Members

  • ACHIEVEability
  • HACE
  • Nicetown CDC
  • Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation
  • Southwest CDC
  • Wynnefield Overbrook Revitalization Corporation

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