What is the Home Preservation Initiative?
In 2016, City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a proposal to sell $100 million bonds in order to provide free home repairs to Philadelphia’s lowest income homeowners and make low interest loans available to those homeowners with the ability to make monthly payments. The loan and grant programs strengthen city programs aimed at helping residents complete repairs that would allow them to preserve their homes—many of which are owner-occupied properties.
Clarke’s office has convened three working groups to identify the most efficient and effective ways to use these funds. The working groups were made up of local non-profits involved in repairing and preserving affordable housing and representatives from city agencies and Council offices.
The $100 million bond sale is proposed to be split into two funds, described below.
$60 Million: Paring Down the Waitlist for the Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP)
$60 million will be dedicated to the City’s Adaptive Modifications Program (AMP), the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and, most critically, to paring down the 7,000-strong waitlist on the City’s Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP).
$40 Million: Creating a Loan Program
Grants from the Basic Systems Repair Program are limited by household income, with eligible households earning no more than $36,900 for a family of four. Healthy Rowhouse Project, in conjunction with Reinvestment Fund, has found that some households may have too much income to qualify for grants but still struggle to get loans on the private market to complete important home repairs. To address that need, the city is proposing to direct $40 million to create a loan reserve fund to incentivize private lenders to extend credit to homeowners with lower incomes and less than perfect credit. Such a fund could keep interest rates low and reduce risk for private lenders.