Affordable Housing & Community Development: Action Guide

by Office of the Mayor

The Trump Administration’s proposed budget is at odds with many Philadelphians’ beliefs, and we understand the frustration or anger you might feel. One of the most important things you can do is turn that anger into action: talk to your friends and neighbors, volunteer your time with a local community group, or donate to one of the many organizations that supports our residents.

To help you take action, the City put together guides that include quick facts, ways you can help, and other resources.

Our first action guides were on Immigration and Sanctuary Cities and Obamacare/Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here is our most recent action guide, on how Philadelphia benefits from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding.

Read the quick facts and action guide and share it with your neighbors. Then call your senators and representatives to make sure they know how you feel.


Quick Facts: How Philadelphia Benefits from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Funding

  1. On March 16, President Trump released his FY18 Budget Blueprint, which includes a proposal to cut funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), by $6.2 billion or 13.2% decrease from FY 2017. The City of Philadelphia, through various departments, received a total of $91.5 million in funding from HUD in FY17.
  2. Cutting HUD funding would mean that our most vulnerable citizens may no longer be able to receive the help they need. HUD funding helps the City and City-related agencies provide services such as housing for the formerly homeless, affordable housing, and maintenance and improvements to our commercial corridorsall vital in our fight against poverty.
  3. HUD funding helps more than just urban centerssmall towns and counties also count on HUD to fund poverty-alleviating programs. The United States Conference of Mayors, The National League of Cities, and the National Association of Counties have all spoken out in opposition to the proposed cuts. They’ve spoken out because the elimination or reduction of HUD programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), would severely reduce municipalities’ ability to make crucial investments in job creation and alleviating poverty. CDBG, one of the vital funding streams for the City, supports activities such as vacant structure rehabilitation, housing preservation, community revitalization and neighborhood economic development activities. The City’s total CDBG funding in FY17 topped $38 million.

Funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) currently supports these vital and necessary city programs:

  1. The Basic Systems Repair program allows low-income homeowners to receive repairs to plumbing, heating, electrical systems and roofs in order to support continued homeownership. This year, the Basic Systems Repair program will use $10.4 million in CDBG funding to help 57 Philadelphia small businesses provide repairs to more than 1,000 homeowners. The average cost of basic home repairs is $10,000, but the cost to build a new home is more than twenty times that amount. The Basic Systems Repair program provides a cost-efficient method to help keep housing affordable for those who need it most.
  2. The Housing Counseling & Foreclosure Prevention program provides credit repair, pre-purchase, and other home financial counseling to over 10,000 residents. This program has saved more than 10,000 Philadelphia homes from foreclosure since 2008, and $5.1 million in CDBG funding this year will provide provide counseling to another 10,000 residents.
  3. Business & Neighborhood Development Loan Funds are provided to businesses growing their operations and to neighborhood-based nonprofit organizations developing real estate in order to create jobs for low-income individuals or to expand services in low-income areas. Last year, $3 million CDBG funds were lent by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and an additional $1 million CDBG funding was provided as grants to nonprofits developing key properties for commercial, cultural, or mixed-use end-users.
  4. Commercial Corridor Revitalization programs support Corridor Managers and Corridor Sidewalk Cleaning Programs for 26 targeted commercial corridors (supporting 1,803 businesses and collecting 32,000 bags of trash), and 13 InStore forgivable loans for businesses to open or expand in low-income areas. Last year, $1.85 million in CDBG funds leveraged City, State, foundation, and private dollars to distribute 69 Storefront Improvement Grants and helped businesses improve safety and attractiveness of the corridor through streetscape improvement projects, festivals and more.  
  5. Small Business Technical Assistance, supported by $700,000 in CDBG funding, is provided by 7 nonprofit organizations to target entrepreneurs and small businesses in targeted demographics (like immigrant-owned businesses or young black males), industries (like food businesses), and areas (like our commercial corridors). For example, The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians provides classes like “English for Entrepreneurs” targeting the immigrant business owners that support our neighborhoods.  In FY16, 896 business owners received technical assistance. This CDBG funding also allows 4 Community Development Financial Institutions (Finanta, WORC, Entrepreneur Works, and The Enterprise Center) to administer loans (with non-CDBG funds) to the businesses to help them grow. In FY16, these 4 organizations made 269 loans totaling $7.6 million to small businesses.  
  6. The Vacant Land Management program removes blight by using local small businesses and nonprofits to stabilize vacant lots. This year, the City of Philadelphia received $700,000 in CDBG funding to support these efforts. According to studies by the University of Pennsylvania, lot stabilization raises nearby property values, improves neighborhood health and reduces gun violence.
  7. The Employment Training program will use $300,000 in CDBG funding this year to train 125 high school dropouts in construction.  The YouthBuild Charter School’s innovative program offers young at-risk adults a high school diploma and valuable job skills, helping to break the cycle of underemployment and poverty.
  8. The Housing Production program will provide nearly 200 homes for low-income, special needs, and formerly homeless households through $5.6 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funding this year. The City’s contribution of local funding and its leveraging of private investment through tax credits and other funding will turn a $5.6 million federal investment into a development program worth $40 million or more. This program uses private sector contractors to build developments.
  9. Rental Assistance helps prevent and end homelessness by paying a portion of the private market rent for approximately 250 low-income households, including people with mental health disabilities. This year the City received $2 million in HOME funding and $100,000 in CDBG funding to help support our efforts to prevent more low-income families from becoming homeless.
  10. Continuum of Care (CoC) Program funding supports more than 2,700 units of permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and transitional housing for formerly homeless individuals and families; the City’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS); and the City’s data analysis and strategic planning activities to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. Rapid Re-Housing focuses on helping households move more quickly into permanent home environments—with appropriate services and support—minimizing the time they spend in shelters or on the street. Individual families gain from permanent supportive housing through this vital program, and the entire community benefits through a more stable workforce, reduced need for public assistance, and lower school absenteeism. In FY16, the Office of Homeless Services, the Collaborative Application to HUD for the Continuum of Care, secured $33.5 million in CoC Program funding. Of the 2,700+ households served in CoC funded housing projects, 40% increased their cash income and 94% were connected to non-cash mainstream benefits like SNAP and Medicaid. Out of the 5,000 people helped to move into permanent housing, 97% were able to maintain their permanent housing.
  11. Emergency Solutions Grant funds support the City’s ability to provide contracted emergency shelter and services; support the City’s rapid re-housing activities; and support homelessness data collection and analysis. On average, ESG funding – $3.5 million in this year – provides emergency shelter, homeless prevention services and rental assistance to more than 2,000 Philadelphians each year. Rapid Re-housing is a program that provides financial assistance for private market rents and move-in costs, along with services focused on maintaining housing. It is more than 85% effective in ending homelessness.
  12. The Housing Opportunity for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program provides housing for low- and moderate-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. This year, $7.3 million in HOPWA funding will provide rental assistance, emergency grants and supportive services to approximately 800 people.
  13. Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) Public Housing manages and oversees approximately 14,000 public housing units, which houses over 28,670 residents. This year $115 million in HUD Public Housing funding supported units for families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
  14. PHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program provides rental subsidies for approximately 19,000 families. These vouchers also apply to HUD-authorized special purposes such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH), Family Unification Program (FUP), Single Room Occupancy (SRO),  Moderate Rehabilitation (MOD) and Mainstream programs.  Using $198 million from HUD Choice Voucher funding this year, PHA was able to provide homes to more than 46,861 Philadelphians.
  15. PHA’s Capital Fund Program supports maintenance, preservation, development, modernization, and management improvements of public housing developments. This year $43 million in HUD funding was dedicated to maintaining and improving 57 PHA public housing developments.

Get Involved: Affordable Housing and Community Development Action Guide

  1. Share these quick facts and action guide with your networks. Education and making our voices heard is crucial in funding those programs that care for our most vulnerable citizens. Whether it is over email, on social media, or at a community meeting, help us get the facts to every Philadelphian.
  2. Contact the White House (202-456-1111) and let the Trump Administration know you support fully funding HUD in the coming budget.
  3. Contact Senator Toomey (215-241-1090) and Senator Casey (215-405-9660) and let them know you support fully funding HUD in the coming budget.
  4. The City of Philadelphia supports programs to meet the diverse housing needs of its low- and moderate-income residents.
  5. The City of Philadelphia supports programs to expand economic development.
    1. Small Business Loans
    2. General Business Support
    3. Supporting Commercial Corridors

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