City Council Fall Review

Philadelphia City Council has introduced and passed many pieces of legislation in its Fall 2022 session. Regarding tackling Philadelphia’s poverty epidemic, Hall Monitor believes the following pieces could be the most consequential of the term.

Neighborhood Preservation Initiative

The Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, introduced by council in 2021, provides $400 million in funds for affordable housing production, home repairs, small business revitalization and neighborhood preservation. The plan was paid for by the issuance of municipal bonds, a 1% Development Impact Tax, and reductions in the city tax abatement.

According to council’s 2021 announcement of the program, NPI is allocating its $400 million in funding to the following areas:

Affordable Housing Production ($113 Million)

Preservation of Affordable Housing ($64.6 Million)

Support for First-time Home Buyers ($58 Million)

Basic Systems Repairs to Existing Homes ($38 Million)

Infrastructure Improvements in Neighborhoods ($26.6 Million)

Permanent Housing for Homeless ($15.2 Million)

Neighborhood Small Business Support & Revitalization ($15.2 Million)

Shallow Rent Assistance ($15.2 Million),

Eviction Prevention ($11.4 Million)

Tangled Title support ($7.6 Million)

Council’s 2023 allocations for funding the NPI are as follows:

Shallow Rent Assistance $360,000
Basic Systems Repair Program $18,000,000
Adaptive Modification $3,400,000
Tangled Title $1,900,000
Eviction Prevention $2,850,000
Affordable Housing Production $20,000,000
Turn the Key1 $2,500,000
Affordable Housing Preservation $33,240,000
Permanent Homeless Housing $3,800,000
Neighborhood Infrastructure $6,650,000
Neighborhood Small Business Programs $4,800,000
Administrative Costs $2,500,000
TOTAL $100,000,000

Johnson Introduces SEPTA Hearing Resolution

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson’s resolution will authorize the Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities to hold hearings “to examine the approach and expected impacts of SEPTA’s Bus Revolution service reconfiguration.”

Hall Monitor’s Lance Haver has been following this story closely, reporting that in the early rounds of public engagement on the topic, riders have expressed great concern regarding possible changes.

According to the resolution, the Bus Revolution plan would decrease the total bus routes from 125 to 99 while increasing the frequency of arterial routes. This could eliminate relied upon routes, leaving some with limited public transportation options.

Other Councilmembers echoed Johnson’s concerns. Councilmember Cindy Bass noted planned SEPTA expansions into suburban areas while reducing service in underserved neighborhoods, which she called “unacceptable.”

“I want to publicly put out there that I have asked the General Manager of SEPTA, on numerous occasions, for almost a year now, to travel with me on the Broad Street Line, just to check it out,” Bass said. “To travel in the morning rush hour and travel in the evening or after school hours.”

Bass said she has not been able to get a commitment from SEPTA regarding her invitation.

Opioid Task Force

Councilmember Mark Squilla’s resolution creating an Opioid Task Force was approved by council.

The Task Force would be charged with making recommendations to city council regarding the $160 million in Opioid settlement funds coming to Philadelphia.

According to the resolution, the Task Force would consist of 15 members from various areas related to opioid response, including drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, health care, behavioral health, law enforcement and criminal justice, education, housing, transportation, job placement, childcare, and other wrap-around services.

The funds will be distributed over an 18-year period. The Task Force members will be appointed by city council, and will meet 30 days after its formal creation. It will issue a report 90 days after its first meeting.

People’s Preservation Package

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier introduced a series of bills aimed at putting “city land in the communities hands.” According to a press release, the “People’s Presevation Package” will do the following:

  • Requires property owners to give notice of their intention to sell their affordable housing property to other affordable housing developers and community groups.
  • Requires property owners to give other affordable housing providers the opportunity to buy an expiring affordable housing development.
  • Authorizes the City of Philadelphia to create a directory of all affordable housing properties in Philadelphia, their funding stream, and when their funding expires.
  • Authorizes the Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development, and the Homeless to conduct hearings regarding discrimination against households holding tenant-based vouchers.

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