PHA Seeks Partners to Expand Housing Opportunities

(PHILADELPHIA, PA - May 17, 2013) - The Philadelphia Housing Authority has launched the formal process to form new development partnerships as part of its "6 in 5" Initiative, which is designed to create or preserve 6,000 affordable housing units over the next five years.

The agency has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a local unit-based operating subsidy program to assist developments that serve low-income households. The subsidies may be used for existing, newly constructed, or renovated housing units, and will provide long-term financial assistance to property owners.

The housing authority's redevelopment of large sites into lower density sites for more than a decade triggered the need for replacement housing sites. However, federal funding to build new sites has shrunk and the agency has decided that partnering with other development groups that build affordable housing will be much more effective.

PHA has some experience doing this already, notably at privately-owned apartment complexes that house senior citizens.

"The severe reduction in federal funding for affordable housing makes these types of partnerships critical to our success," said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, President and CEO of PHA. "For too long, we operated on our own. We cannot meet the need for affordable housing in Philadelphia by ourselves."

The RFP (formally known as P-004278) invites proposals from property owners and developers with existing units and new construction that are or will be available for rental to extremely low-income households (less than 80 percent of area median income).

Operating subsidies could go as high as $550 per month, and the agency may consider a higher subsidy for cases with exceptional need. Interested parties may also request higher subsidy if they agree to provide supportive services to residents substantially in excess of services offered at comparable units, or if they can demonstrate extraordinary infrastructure costs at new developments.

Applicants to the subsidy program may also request capital funds to support the acquisition or new construction of units to house families eligible for public housing. PHA will give preference to those proposals that request less capital funding, or none at all.

The unit-based operating subsidy program also has the goals of increasing affordable housing opportunities in neighborhoods not impacted by poverty, fostering the revitalization of neighborhoods targeted by the City, testing new opportunities and approaches for assisting low and very low-income families, and increasing the number of units available to income-eligible individuals who are disabled, homeless or have special needs.

PHA is accepting proposals for the program through the end of 2014. Developers and others interested in viewing the RFP can request a copy by following the instructions posted here. PHA is also holding a non-mandatory pre-proposal conference on Thursday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. at 3100 Penrose Ferry Road, Philadelphia, PA 19145. Please call 215-684-4059 to confirm attendance.