by Jay Goldstein

The City of Philadelphia just issued an ambitious, comprehensive first draft report – “Housing for Equity: An Action Plan for Philadelphia”. This plan is not intended to address only affordable housing. Rather, as Mayor Kenney says, “The Plan addresses homelessness and eviction, production and preservation, affordable, workplace and market-rate housing. It offers innovative and effective strategies to address our housing needs.” … to encourage economic growth, ensure sustainable neighborhoods and provide quality affordable housing choices for upper and middle income and affordable housing units

Before we delve in, a few basics:

  • Philadelphia’s population has grown by more than 63,000 people since 2000 and is expected to grow by an additional 25,000 households over the next 10 years.
  • The Plan’s goal is to provide 3,650 new housing units per year either with new construction or rehabbing vacant units.
  • Nearly 90% of our existing housing stock is over 30 years old. To maintain this asset, the goal is to preserve 63,500 over 10 years.
  • From 2008-2016, Philadelphia lost 13,000 lower cost units and added 6,000 units at the top of the market.

There are five Key Themes and Programs within this Action Plan:

1. Housing our most vulnerable residents by proactively preventing households from entering into homelessness and creating housing options for the most at-risk populations.

2. Preserving and Protecting Long-Term Affordability ensuring that the City’s aging housing stock remains safe, livable and affordable.

3. Providing Pathways to Sustainable Homeownership and Wealth Creation to preserve the quality and viability of homeownership and expand a new generation of homeowners.

4. Encouraging Equitable Growth without Displacement by planning for and harnessing growth to benefit all residents.

5. Enabling Efficient and Innovative Development and Rehabilitation to Promote Greater Housing Choice by decreasing government regulations, streamlining service delivery and figuring out ways to lower the cost of housing development and rehabilitation.

This certainly is a lofty yet laudable plan with many innovative recommendations for a creative way forward in dealing with our housing equity issues.

To read the full Plan go to