By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Has peace broken out at Philadelphia City Hall? Seven months after City Council announced an ambitious plan to boost affordable housing in Philadelphia, the effort is finally moving forward with the cooperation of the Nutter Administration.
City Council members have wondered, privately and sometimes publicly, whether Mayor Michael Nutter opposes their initiatives simply because they’re not his own. Now, though, Council’s affordable housing plan announced in March with great fanfare is now advancing with a memorandum of understanding among council and several agencies under the mayor’s control. KYW Newsradio asked Council President Darrell Clarke if he is surprised by the Administration’s cooperation.
“I’m not surprised,” he said. “At some point in time you come up with a proposal that’s in some respects a no-brainer. This is utilizing opportunities (to tap into federal funding) that we have no used in the past. Everybody supports this: the unions, the community organizations, the (Nutter) Administration.”
Council’s plan is to build 2,000 new affordable homes — half for rent, half for purchase — on what are now vacant, tax-delinquent parcels throughout Philadelphia. The original plan called for 1,500 units, but the goal was later increased. The effort would tap into federal tax credits and other subsidies; Clarke and other council members believe the city and state are now failing to tap into those monies.
Two agencies are now soliciting proposals for the housing from developers, and Clarke hopes to have projects chosen by early next year.
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