U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to green light a proposal to revitalize North Central Philadelphia.
Senator Casey sent a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan pushing him to approve Philadelphia's Transformation Plan and Choice Neighborhoods Implementation funding proposal, which would support a number of neighborhood revitalization initiatives.
"This project will help create jobs, crack down on blight and ensure access to quality education for the children of North Central Philadelphia," said Senator Casey. "North Central Philadelphia is on the brink of transformation, and the lives of the neighborhood's thousands of residents would be greatly improved with this grant."
The grant would fund over 500 units of mixed income housing, along with early education, creative curriculum, mentoring and youth development initiatives. A new Workforce and Development Center focused on health-care job training will be built as well.
Additionally, the grant would crack down on blight in the neighborhood by supporting new lighting on a major thruway, rail station improvements and widespread home repairs for the existing housing stock.
Senator Casey's letter supporting the city's revitalization plan for North Central Philadelphia is below:
September 19, 2012
The Honorable Shaun Donovan
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Dear Secretary Donovan:
I write you today to express my support of the City of Philadelphia's Transformation Plan and Choice Neighborhoods Implementation funding proposal for the North Central Philadelphia neighborhood. I am confident that funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will enhance the livability of this area by improving housing, creating jobs and ensuring access to quality educational opportunities and services.
North Central Philadelphia is a neighborhood in the midst of a renaissance. Left blighted by economic changes and suburbanization in the 1960s, community leaders and residents have been fighting to revitalize the neighborhood for many years. Home to Temple University and strategically located close to Center City Philadelphia, the neighborhood is a community on the rise. This neighborhood is a priority of both the City and the Philadelphia Housing Authority, as evidenced by their significant investments in affordable housing, commercial opportunities, and community building projects and programs.
Investment from HUD will be used to address the remaining barriers to the revitalization of North Central Philadelphia and the development of new opportunities for its residents. Despite many improvements, 62 percent of its residents remain in poverty with children facing low-performing schools and adults facing a lack of employment opportunities and services. Furthermore, the neighborhood is home to nearly 2,000 vacant and blighted lots, which encourage crime and diffuse efforts to create a healthy, prosperous neighborhood.
The application offered by the City of Philadelphia, and its partners, is the next phase in community development planning and implementation in North Central Philadelphia. The proposal is robust in the three core Choice Neighborhood Initiatives focus areas--housing, people and neighborhood. If funded, 553 units of mixed income housing will be added; wrap-around services will be put in place such as additional early education, creative curriculum, mentoring and youth development initiatives; a new Workforce and Development Center focused on health-care job training will be built; and the neighborhood will benefit from numerous improvements, including new lighting on a major thruway, rail station improvements and widespread home repairs for the existing housing stock. In total, the $30 million in Choice Neighborhood Implementation funds will leverage over $650 million in other committed public and private resources.
I ask HUD to give thoughtful consideration to the City of Philadelphia's proposal. North Central Philadelphia is a neighborhood on the cusp, and HUD's investment would transform the community, creating a better life for thousands of residents. If I can be of any assistance as you evaluate the proposal, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator