Hundreds Apply to Live at PHA's Oakdale Street Apartments

 

Oakdale Line

When PHA closed the two-day application period for the Oakdale Street Apartments, over 400 people had signed up for chance to live in one of the 12 units going up behind the Widener Library. Prospective residents began lining up outside the library as early as 1 a.m. on March 17, the first day for applications.

(PHILADELPHIA, March 24, 2015) - The Philadelphia Housing Authority's (PHA) new development on Oakdale Street in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood is small, but the leasing demand is huge.

When PHA closed the two-day application period last week, over 400 people had applied for a chance to live in one of the 12 units being built on the 2800 block of Oakdale, behind the Widener Library.  Agency employees who registered applicants reported that even more people came to the event, but did not complete an application.

Prospective residents began lining up outside the library as early as one o'clock in the morning on March 17, the first day for applications. Some camped out in lawn chairs. The line went all the way down the 2800 block of Lehigh Avenue in front of the library and wrapped along the sidewalk.

"The response to PHA opening the waitlist for Oakdale Street Apartments was humbling," said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. "This sign-up event further demonstrates the tremendous demand for quality, affordable housing in Philadelphia.  The number of applicants is also a solemn reminder that PHA is unable to fulfill this great need alone."

Some of the people applying for Oakdale Street were already wait-listed for other PHA sites. The agency has over 100,000 applicants for various housing programs.

"I'm trying to get housing for me and my son. I've been on the waiting list for three years. PHA produces some great housing and they really try to work with you," said Shakira Miles, one of the applicants.

Another applicant, Wanda Hargrove, was also eager to secure a place for herself and her son. 

"We've been here since one o'clock in the morning, you know how it is, first come, first served. It was a long, long morning, but having a home is important. I've been on the waiting list for six years and this is a great opportunity," she said.

Another prospective resident just couldn't resist the opportunity to live in a new home.

"I got in line at three o'clock in the morning so I can be the first to get a house since it is first come, first served," said Tyesha Hunt. "I have been on PHA's waiting list for nine years. It would be great to have this housing for me and my daughter." 

The new Oakdale Street Apartments features 8 two-bedroom townhouses and 4 one- bedroom duplex units ranging from just over 700 to more than 1,200 square feet.  The units are designed with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind; and include Energy Star-rated appliances and mechanical equipment, and compact fluorescent bulbs throughout.  All buildings will feature conventional construction with a combination of brick and hard board panel systems on the exterior, with grass field rear yards. Construction of the new homes, which was delayed by the winter weather, will be completed in June.

The new PHA development, along with two others in Strawberry Mansion, is something long sought by City Council President Darrell Clarke, whose district covers the neighborhood. He has actively promoted an increase in various forms of affordable housing throughout the City. When all three developments are complete, 100 new housing units will have been added to the neighborhood.