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16 Dec 2022

City Council leaders, officials break ground on first affordable homes to be built through Neighborhood Preservation Initiative

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December 16, 2022 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Pictured (from l-r); Brennan Tomasetti, owner and founder, Civetta Property Group; Council President Darrell L. Clarke; Michael Tomasetti, Civetta Property Group and Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson.  (Photos/Jared Piper/PHLCouncil)

City Council leaders, joined by housing officials and advocates, broke ground Monday on the first of 1,000 affordable homes scheduled for construction and sale to qualifying Philadelphians under the “Turn The Key” program funded through Council’s Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI).

“Turn The Key,” the Philadelphia affordable home ownership program, is being funded through the $400 million NPI program created by City Council in 2020.

The Turn The Key program will help facilitate the sale of 1,000 new, energy-efficient, 3-bedroom, 1½-bath homes on publicly-owned city land.

Using publicly owned land reduces development costs, increasing home affordability. The first group of 25 homes, to be built in Grays Ferry at 30th & Wharton Streets, will cost $230,000 to purchase. NPI’s Mortgage Affordability Program will offer loans of up to $75,000 (subject to household income) to help further reduce the homes’ cost. The 30-year loans will be secured by a second mortgage, and portions will be forgiven over time.

At today’s announcement, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (D-2nd Dist.) explained why the initiative was so important.                                               

“I am happy that the groundbreaking of the first 25 homes to be built under ‘Turn the Key’ will be built in Grays Ferry in the Second District,” Johnson said. “These will be the first of 1,000 affordable homes to be built across Philadelphia over the next several years. Philadelphia has experienced a development boom in recent years, and it is important to make sure that we make housing available for citizens of Philadelphia — regardless of their checkbook or pocketbook. I thank Council President Clarke and my colleagues for passing legislation to make this affordable home ownership program a reality.”

“Today marks another critical step forward for the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (D-5th Dist.). “NPI is launching the largest development of affordable housing in Philadelphia history. Grays Ferry is a first step. We have many more groundbreakings to give residents the chance to own their own home.”

Councilmember Johnson describes City Council’s Turn The Key Affordable Homeownership Program to a grouping of developers, neighborhood advocates and others in Grays Ferry.

Also present at today’s groundbreaking in South Philadelphia, along with Council leaders, were other developers poised to break ground on the next set of affordable homes in other neighborhoods in Philadelphia through NPI.

“I am excited to celebrate our first of many Turn The Key groundbreakings,” said Angel Rodriguez, senior vice president of land management at the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) and executive director of the Philadelphia Land Bank. “Using publicly owned land for this program helps reduce blight in our communities and reduces the cost to develop these homes. Using this land also increases the affordability, which is important. Turn The Key is a pathway for families to build generational wealth and receive other benefits that come from home ownership.”

To be eligible, first-time homebuyers must have not previously owned a home or owned a home in the last three years, be income-certified, and complete a free, city-funded home ownership counseling program before signing an Agreement of Sale.

Turn The Key will include a preference given to income-qualified City of Philadelphia employees – a preference approved by City Council in legislation earlier this year.

Turn The Key is a critical part of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative but is not the only element of NPI. In year one of NPI, city agencies working closely with Council have spent or committed $100 million on an array of initiatives, including the Tangled Title program, Basic Systems Repairs, Philly First Home, Eviction Diversion, Adaptive Modification, and Neighborhood-Based Small Businesses, among many other programs funded by NPI. 

For additional information about NPI’s first year, visit: https://bit.ly/NPIDashboard. For more information on Turn The Key, visit: www.phdcphila.org/residents/homebuyers-and-renters/turn-the-key/.

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