Why you should vote ‘yes’ on Question 4 in the Philadelphia poll

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In response to the next ballot question # 4: “Should the Philadelphia Self-Government Charter be amended to provide for a mandatory annual credit for the Housing Trust Fund?” The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Societies (PACDC) urges Philadelphians to vote YES!

It is time for Philadelphia to allocate additional permanent funding dedicated to the most basic need for a safe, secure and stable place to call home. Housing is closely linked to many important outcomes, including academic performance, physical and mental health, stable employment, and economic mobility.


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As Covid has exacerbated the situation and stable housing is all the more critical now, we also need longer-term solutions to build resilient communities. Just as we need at least a funding floor to support our schools, a 0.5% budget allocation is a reasonable minimum to support all of the great things the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) does for our city and its communities. residents when properly funded. This includes meeting the needs of home repair and modification, helping homeless people find housing, and building new homes in communities that desperately need this investment.

Philadelphia is experiencing an affordable housing crisis and the current HTF is critically under-resourced to meet housing needs across the city. According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Philadelphia has a deficit of nearly 70,000 affordable rental units available to people earning 30% or less than the median family income.

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There are over 82,000 people on the now closed Philadelphia Housing Authority waiting list. These households pay more than they can afford for shelter costs, leaving little for transportation, food, medical care or other basic necessities. This crisis is straining our already weak social safety net and subjecting families to stress that leads to poor physical and mental health.

While there are different ways to solve this problem, one of the most straightforward is to support the HTF, which voters can all do on election day or before November 2.

Voting YES to question 4 will help us take one step closer to providing affordable housing to all who need it.

Since its inception in 2005, the HTF has met a wide variety of basic needs for safe, secure and stable housing. Programs supported by HTF include building thousands of new affordable homes and the Basic Systems Repair Program, which helps low-income homeowners fix things like roofs and other systems before they become devastating problems.

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It also supports first-time home buyers with setup assistance and helps residents who have fallen behind on their utility bills. In addition, HTF funds programs to prevent and end homelessness. In fact, studies show that HTF investments have increased the value of nearby properties, created more than 10,000 construction jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenue.

This mandatory allocation does not tie the hands of the mayor or future municipal councils because its escape clause allows the financial director to suspend payments in the event of sharp budget cuts. Instead, it ensures that future municipal governments and city council keep their promise to properly fund the HTF.

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Philadelphia still has a long way to go to make safe, secure, and stable housing accessible to all, and a 0.5% budget allowance is just a small drop in the bucket of what Philadelphians deserve in the face of the challenge. housing instability.

Voting YES to question 4 will help us take one step closer to providing affordable housing to all who need it.


Rick Sauer is Executive Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. Maria Gonzalez is Chairman of the Board of PACDC and Executive Director of HACE.

The citizen welcomes comments from community members which state to the best of their ability that they are factual and non-defamatory.

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Header photo by Marco Verch / Flickr


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