PHA Announces Massive Revitalization in Tasker/Grays Ferry Neighborhoods
Media Contacts:
Kirk Dorn, General Manager, Media Services
Office: (215) 684-4112; Cell: (215) 704-3653
Pager: 888-645-0924

Dana Wormer, Director of Communications
Office: (215) 684-4106; Cell: (215) 913-4628
Pager: 888-645-0339

PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA (September 17, 2002) - Lives are about to change dramatically for the people of Southwest Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) announced a $170 Million plan today to build more than 550 new homes at its Tasker property just off the Schuylkill Expressway.

The announcement by PHA Executive Director Carl R. Greene marks the latest and most dramatic step yet in PHA's goal of revolutionizing conditions in public housing and the communities that surround it.

"Gone are the days of building a wall around a public housing area. Now, we're weaving our developments of beautiful new homes into neighborhoods and we're raising the quality of life for both public and private housing residents," said Greene.
Even the funding for the massive Tasker revitalization is historic. PHA is the first housing authority in the nation to utilize a combination of funding from general-purpose government bonds ($85 million), private activity tax exempt bonds ($33 million), and equity raised from the sale of the low-income housing tax credits associated with the private activity bond issues ($20-25 million). The bonds will be backed by PHA's annual capital funds allocation.

"This funding clears the way for demolition, reconstruction and reconfiguration of the site to provide a modern, lower density housing plan that is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood," said Greene.

The new housing at Tasker will include rental, home ownership, and senior living. The revitalization also includes a workforce-training center for residents, plus a community center, senior center and retail space for not only the residents of the Tasker Homes but the surrounding community as well.

The revitalization of 153 units of nearby Wilson Park and alternative developments is also part of the plan.
Today's groundbreaking also is another huge sign of how PHA is supporting Mayor John F. Street's vision for transforming neighborhoods.

"The Tasker Homes/ Grays Ferry development is another major step in the city's efforts to improve its neighborhoods and eliminate blight," Mayor Street said. "Residents of South Philadelphia and the Grays Ferry neighborhood are working hard to rebuild their community - and this will be a significant addition in that effort."
PHA has been changing the face of housing throughout the city, investing nearly $850 million in construction, and raising the quality of life in neighborhood after neighborhood. New homes are being built at 10 developments. Homes are being renovated at five other PHA properties and new homes are being built at numerous scattered sites throughout the city, bringing new life to the areas in which they are located.

The Tasker Homes development was buit in 1940, making it one of the oldest PHA properties. The development currently consists of clusters of two and three-story brick row houses located on 40 acres at 30th and Tasker streets in the Grays Ferry section of South Philadelphia. It originally contained 1,077 units, of which 925 are still in use. Both the site itself and the housing units are in a general state of disrepair.

Demolition of the existing structures and resident relocation will occur in phases, allowing residents to remain in some of the units while other units are being demolished.

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About PHA

PHA is the nation's fourth largest public housing agency serving more than 70,000 residents. Nationally recognized for its innovations in public housing, PHA is also the first housing authority in the United States to be designated by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) of the National Association of Realtors as an "Accredited Management Organization." This designation is awarded to firms engaged in property management, which have met IREM's high standards in the areas of education, experience, integrity and financial stability.