Home repair loans could be ultimate affordable housing program

Pat Loeb
March 14, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia officials launched a new program Wednesday to provide home repair loans to low- and moderate-income residents so they can stay in their homes when they might, otherwise, be forced out. They're calling the program Restore, Repair, Renew.

As housing values rise, City Council has been very concerned with making sure less affluent residents aren't driven out. Members recently developed a plan to create new affordable housing, but Council President Darrell Clarke says there's something even better.

"The most affordable housing in the city, the house that you live in," Clarke said.

Councilwoman Cherelle Parker was struck by the seeming contradiction in her district: a high rate of home ownership but a lack of resources to keep the homes from falling into disrepair.

"The crumbling steps, the busted curbs, the bricks that need to be pointed. Go inside and you might see the water damage caused by the leaky roof," she said.

READ: Affordable housing bills pass in City Council after 2 years of wrangling

Parker championed the loan program, which will serve people up to 120 percent of the median income, and with credit scores as low as 580. They'll be charged just three percent interest on 10 year loans up to $25,000. 

The program is being run through the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. 

Executive Director Greg Heller says it should have many benefits. 

"By allowing our homeowners to invest in their property, we'll also be investing in the stability of our blocks and the quality of our neighborhoods," Heller said.