Philadelphia City Council voted Thursday to approve legislation authorizing $400 million in bonds to finance the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative. The massive program will invest in neighborhood preservation by building more affordable housing, restoring local shopping corridors, assisting first-time homebuyers, helping renters avoid eviction, paying for repairs to existing homes, and multiple other efforts to preserve neighborhoods across the city.
According to the City Council website, the program is an effort to address growing economic disparities enhanced during the COVID-19 pandemic, including an urgent need for more affordable housing, aid so renters can avoid eviction, assistance to keep residents from becoming homeless, and similar needs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic magnified economic and racial disparities that have existed for too long in Philadelphia,” said Council President Clarke. “These disparities are growing, and the need to address them is urgent. We need to act to create a more equitable future for every Philadelphian and every neighborhood. City Council is recognizing these needs and acting on them by creating and financing Neighborhood Preservation Initiative.”
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In city budget hearings on Wednesday, Anne Fadullon, the city’s Director of the Department of Planning and Development, told Councilmembers that the Kenney administration was “as excited as you are” to move forward with the goals and initiatives of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative. The legislation now goes to Mayor Kenney for his consideration.
The program is also expected to generate a larger burst of economic activity, $2.5 billion-worth and produce $71 Million in new tax revenues over the first 4 years. It is estimated that it will support over 14,700 jobs with $765 Million in wages.
Help for vulnerable residents
Council Majority Leader Parker, who introduced the legislation on Clarke’s behalf, underlined the beneficial impact of the Neighborhood Preservation Program. “This legislation will generate close to a half billion dollars that will impact the lives of our most vulnerable residents who have been hurt most directly by the coronavirus. It will help those in poverty, prevent those living on the margins from falling further behind, and create sustainable jobs and assist small businesses which need help right now.”