PHA Rebuilds and Renames Former Tasker Homes site now Greater Grays Ferry Estates

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Philadelphia Housing Authority officially dedicated Greater Grays Ferry Estates today, a 554-home affordable housing development that PHA believes will change the fabric of South Philadelphia. The new development sits on a 40-acre site previously occupied by the old Tasker Homes project, just off the Schuylkill Expressway. PHA Executive Director Carl Greene hailed the opening as a turning point for the neighborhood.

"Changing the name of this development symbolizes a change in thinking about affordable housing partnerships. Grays Ferry Estates will become a force for unity among all residents of this community," Greene said. The construction of Greater Grays Ferry Estates represents an investment of $165 million dollars, a combination of federal funding and private investment. The site will offer a total of 250 homeownership opportunities; 125 of the homes in Phase Two to be completed by the end of next year - will be available for sale. In fifteen years an additional 125 homes from Phase One will be for sale, so that the residents moving into these rental homes now will have the option to buy later.

Phase One, opening today, includes 245 homes, 25 of which are completely handicap accessible. Unlike projects of the past, Greater Grays Ferry Estates will be a mixed income community where low and moderate-income families live together on the same site. Families with incomes as high as 50% of the areas median income ($34,400 for a family of four) are eligible to rent or buy at the site, and that income ceiling may be raised for Phase Two. Along with the 554 new homes, the site will include new underground utility lines, new streets and a senior services center open to all income-eligible residents of the Grays Ferry community. Carl Greene said the senior services center represents PHAs partnership with the neighborhood. "There was a time when Grays Ferry and the PHA site were divided. By making our new senior services center available to the community at-large we are laying the groundwork for Grays Ferry Estates to become an integral part of the greater Grays Ferry community," Greene said.

PHA is making its affordable housing even more affordable for some residents by including solar power panels on 18 of the southern facing homes. PHA estimates those residents will save $400-$500 per year in energy costs. The development will also include a new workforce-training center, which will house the agencys renowned Pre-apprenticeship training program in the building trades. Several dignitaries joined in todays celebration. Among them were Mayor John Street who talked about how Greater Grays Ferry Estates provides a major boost to the Citys plan for neighborhood transformation, and Congressman Chaka Fattah who spoke of the continuing battle to provide federal dollars to help build affordable housing.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Steven Nesmith, a native of PHAs Abbottsford Homes in East Falls, praised the collaborative efforts between his agency and PHA in bringing the new development to fruition. Governor Ed Rendell could not make the event, but called in his congratulations for the hundreds gathered.

About PHA

PHA is transforming public housing in the city of Philadelphia. As the nation's fourth largest public housing agency serving more than 78,000 residents, PHA is the first housing authority in the U. S. 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 that have met IREM's high standards in the areas of education, experience, integrity and financial stability.

Greater Grays Ferry Estates, formerly known as Tasker Homes, will be a mixed-income community where some families will own their homes.

PHA Executive Director Carl Greene, says changing the name of the development symbolizes a change in thinking about affordable housing.

PHA Executive Director Carl Greene and Shop-Rite's Orien Reed (third from left) present housewarming gifts to residents Delcenia Medley and Annette Hall.

City Council President Anna Verna exults in the renewal of the Grays Ferry neighborhood that she represents.