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Press Release

Rep. Donna Bullock and Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia Pave the Way for More Affordable Housing in North Philly

A $220,280 grant from the Local Share Account will be used for environmental remediation at 19th Street and Montgomery Avenue, clearing a path to develop
up to 12 affordable housing units for first-time homeowners in need.

PHILADELPHIA (February 13, 2024) – A contaminated lot at 19th Street and Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia is one step closer to becoming much-needed affordable housing for first-time homeowners in need, thanks to a recent grant from the state’s Local Share Account.

Rep. Donna Bullock (195th District) presented a check for $220,280 to Corinne O’Connell, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, that will fund environmental remediation efforts at the former site of a laundromat, clearing the way for the development of up to 12 homes that Habitat Philadelphia will build and sell to families in its homeownership program. The funding, which is directed from casinos operating in Philadelphia, was also supported by Sen. Sharif Street (PA-District 3) and Rep. Jordan A. Harris (186th District), Democratic Appropriations Chair.

“This award will significantly accelerate the process of preparing the site to build quality houses for Philadelphians in need of a stable and secure place to call home,” said O’Connell. “The need for affordable housing in our city continues to grow, and we are grateful for the partnership and support of Rep. Bullock and Rep. Jordan A. Harris in advocating for this funding and sharing our vision of a city where everyone has a decent place to live.”

The 19th and Montgomery project will bring families back to a community that has seen dramatic loss of homeownership over the past decade. With new rental development driving up housing costs, low-wealth households have been displaced, eroding the sense of community that homeowners bring to a neighborhood.

“As someone who calls Philadelphia home, I know firsthand the tough housing situation we’re facing here and across the state,” said Majority Appropriations Chairman Jordan Harris. “It’s an honor to join Chairwoman Bullock in facilitating the allocation of crucial funding, which will bolster Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s efforts in environmental remediation. Together, we forge a path towards safer and more affordable housing options, reinforcing our commitment to uplift our friends and neighbors in need.”

Through its homeownership program, Habitat Philadelphia partners with first-time home buyers to offer a zero-interest mortgage to individuals making between 30 and 80% of the area median income, which in Philadelphia is $39,100 – $62,560. Homeowners complete 125 hours of “sweat equity,” which includes volunteering on Habitat Philadelphia construction sites or in the ReStores, attending financial education workshops, and other forms of community engagement. Habitat Philadelphia has built and sold 260 homes throughout the city since its founding in 1985.

“This grant funding is about enhancing our community in various ways, and it’s always great to see our tax dollars come back and be used for the direct benefit of the community,” Bullock said. “Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia has a proven track record of working alongside Philadelphia families to increase equity and opportunity, and I’m optimistic this project will turn out well.”

Photo of vacant lot

The 19th and Montgomery Environmental Remediation project includes the removal and disposal of contaminated soil, backfilling the site, site stabilization, soil sampling, analysis, and the creation of a combined cleanup plan. The project will ensure that the site is safe and complies with PADEP Act 2 residential statewide health standards as well as site-specific standards that are required before development can begin.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) established the Local Share Account (LSA) – Philadelphia program to distribute a portion of slot machine license operation fees from Category 1 or 2 facilities operating within the City of Philadelphia.

In December 2023, DCED invested over $5,692,247 to fund 17 new projects in community improvement, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and public interest projects in Philadelphia.

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About Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia builds strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia transforms lives and our city by building and repairing quality homes in partnership with families in need and by uniting all Philadelphians around the cause of affordable housing. Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia has built and sold 260 energy-efficient homes to first-time homeowners, and strategically partnered with more than 850 homeowners and their families to provide critical home repairs. For more information, visit www.habitatphiladelphia.org.