PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (or “APM”), is a Latino-based social services organization that provides health and affordable housing services throughout North Philadelphia. The group is also helping the city become more environmentally friendly.

APM took vacant land in the 1800 Block of Sheridan Street and turned it into green, sustainable housing. Now, instead of blight, residents in the neighborhood can see 13 L-shaped structures, equipped with solar panels and an ultra modern feel. Rose Gray is the group’s Vice President of Community and Economic Development:

“Sheridan Street LEED Gold Homes incorporate technology such as solar hot water, a vegetative green roof, which helps with storm water management, pervious pavers that again help with storm management, rain barrels that collect [rain] and the collection of that water will be used for the gardens, etc.”

Gray says the exterior of the house is made from hardie plank, a sustainable material that aids in the function of the home’s insulation.

“Everything is energy-efficient,” says Gray. “The rugs are recycled, the wood that is used in the cabinetry is green designed. We believed that not only is this good for the community, but it also brings our community into looking at energy efficiency, energy savings.”

Gray says APM will sell each home for about $150,000, which is about half of the market value, thanks to city and state subsidies. In order to purchase a home, individuals must meet certain income standards.

apm housing 007 Latino Based Organization Funds Affordable Green Housing In N. Philadelphia

The L-shaped structures, equipped with solar panels. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

apm housing 011 Latino Based Organization Funds Affordable Green Housing In N. Philadelphia

"Everything is energy-efficient," says Gray. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

In addition to the new green housing project, APM has other suburban-style homes and rental properties in North Philadelphia. They also built a new grocery store near 5th and Berks Streets.

To celebrate of 41 years of service, the group is holding it’s annual Gift of Love Gala. The fundraiser will help provide holiday gifts for the area’s most disadvantaged children. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to

Reported by Cherri Gregg, KYW Newsradio

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