By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Housing non-profits say Philadelphia’s tax assessment agency is undermining their efforts to provide desperately needed affordable housing in the city, and they testified at a city council hearing, last week.

Project HOME has spent decades fighting homelessness by building units for low income residents, with stable, affordable rents.

It relies on fixed costs so it was more than a shock when its tax bill nearly doubled, after a recent re-appraisal.

Spokesperson Laura Weinbaum told council it was also surprising, because the city professes to want to end homelessness.

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“By raising our assessments in this way, we will be able to actually provide less housing,” she said.

She was among those testifying in support of a bill that would order the Office of Property Assessments to consider factors such as rent restrictions in reappraisals.

OPA insisted it does and suggested the groups simply appeal, frustrating the bill’s sponsor Councilman Brian O’Neil.

“They’re missing it,” he said. “When someone says, this is gonna put us out of business… this is not first level appeal situation.”

The bill advanced to the full council.