PHA President & CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah and Council President Darrell L. Clarke shake hands during a ceremony announcing that PHA has named its newest community center in Sharwood after Clarke, who is retiring from Council this year. Clarke has been a champion for affordable housing for many decades, and a familiar face in the neighborhood.
For PHA: Nichole Tillman, [email protected]; 215-888-2869
, PA. (December 15, 2023) – The Philadelphia Housing Authority today honored retiring Council President Darrell L. Clarke, a champion of affordable housing and equity, by naming its newest community center in Sharswood after him.
The Center, at the corner of 24th and Master Street, will be used by residents living in Sharswood 4A, a stylish new development of affordable, spacious rental townhouses unveiled by PHA unveiled just this week.
“Council President Darrell L. Clarke has been a champion of hope, most especially for Sharswood and North Philadelphia,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, PHA President & CEO. “I cannot think of a more fitting tribute for a man so deeply committed to preservation and expansion of affordable housing, equity, and social and economic mobility. When PHA began to revitalize the formerly red-lined neighborhood of Sharswood, the skeptics told us our bold plans wouldn’t work. We made promises to the people in this once-forgotten neighborhood, and we were able to keep them because Darrell Clarke worked beside us, advocating mightily for the residents in the Fifth Council District. Both of us are stubborn, and both of us refuse to take no for an answer.”
Clarke Introduced and passed legislation authorizing PHA to acquire over1, 200 vacant lots in the project footprint. He supported and advocated for PHA’s $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, and secured city grant funds to meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) local match requirement. Clarke supported the overall project as well, assisting in obtaining zoning and expedited building permits that allowed PHA to meet the growing demand for affordable homes.
The 4A townhouses replace some of the PHA rental units lost when the authority imploded Blumberg Towers in 2016. The aging towers were in need of major repairs, and they had become a haven for drugs and crime. The modern townhouses blend in with the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood. The new Darrell L. Clarke Community Center has a kitchenette, a space for community gatherings, and computers that residents can use.
The new community center will serve as a reminder of Council President Clarke’s service to the city, said Lynette Brown-Sow, Chairman of the PHA Board of Trustees. .
“Darrell Clarke is a champion of the people as well as an astute legislator who is highly skilled at bringing together diverse groups and partners to solve challenges,” said Lynette Brown-Sow, Chairman of the PHA Board of Commissioners. “His legislative agenda has always been centered on the principles of fairness and equity. He understands, truly, that Philadelphia benefits the most when everyone in the city gains from the growth and prosperity that new development brings.”
Asia Coney, a PHA resident who serves on the PHA Board of Commissioners, said the recognition is well deserved.
“Council President Clarke is often there before we can even make the call asking for help,” Coney said. “He travels around the neighborhoods, listening to residents’ concerns and seeking bold ways to improve housing affordability and preserve the existing housing stock. PHA residents are grateful for all that he has done for the city, for us, and for our communities.”
Clarke, who is the President of City Council, represents the 5th Council District which includes North Central Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, Lower Hunting Park, Ludlow, Yorktown, West Poplar, Fairhill, Brewerytown, Francisville, Spring Garden, Fairmount, Logan Square, and parts of Northwood, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Center City.