(Philadelphia, PA – May 7, 2019) -The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) today welcomed seniors to an open house featuring apartments designed especially for them at Norris Apartments Phase II in the city’s North Central neighborhood.
Former residents of the old Norris Apartments site, including seniors, have the right of return to the redeveloped apartment complex which now sits on both sides of the regional rail station that serves Temple University. Twenty-six of the 89 units at the complex are senior preference units, located in two small apartment buildings. The development complements ongoing private housing and commercial development in the neighborhood.
“We want residents to make an informed decision about returning to this neighborhood,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “They need to see the opportunities that now exist in this community as it becomes more fashionable than it was before.”
Jeremiah acknowledged that moving is never easy, but the benefits in this instance are great and noted that PHA covers the cost of their move back into the neighborhood as required by federal law. The location has a spacious community room, the housing authority will handle the residents’ cable connection, and the neighborhood is very walkable with great transit options.
“The new Norris Apartments represent our ongoing commitment toward making sure every neighborhood in the City of Philadelphia is welcoming and inclusive to people of all incomes and ages,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke said. “We are fulfilling a promise made to this particular community: As Philly grows and evolves, we will continue to put longtime residents like you first. Welcome home!”
Norris Apartments Phase II represents the third of five phases of development following the award of a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant to the City of Philadelphia and PHA by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in June 2014. Infilling the “missing teeth” of the once continuous street façades of the early 20th century, these new homes put vacant land to productive use once again while repopulating this once thriving working class community.
“Senior citizens help to stabilize the neighborhood because they have long term knowledge about it,” said Norris Apartments Resident Council President Donna Richardson.
Richardson, who pushed for specially designed senior units at the development, feels that they contribute to the quality of life in a community because they are active in churches or social organizations and may have family members in the immediate area.
Norris Apartments Phase II is diverse in its demographic composition as it considers multigenerational, visitablity/accessibility, as well as families, and integrates all of these populations within the broader neighborhood. This strategy allows close proximity to promote shared experiences between neighbors, independent of their differences. Residents played an integral role in the vision for the redesign of the neighborhood.