Clarke: float $100M in bonds to help low-income homeowners renovate

 City Council President Darrell Clarke wants to make sure projects getting tax breaks and other subsidies are making enough of an effort to hire city residents. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

City Council President Darrell Clarke wants to make sure projects getting tax breaks and other subsidies are making enough of an effort to hire city residents. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

About two-thirds of homes in Philadelphia are roughly a century old and many poor residents can’t afford to make repairs, he said.

Clarke said $60 million would go toward beefing up three programs that already help homeowners do just that, but experienced funding cuts during the recession. He said the extra revenue would help deal with a backlog of 5,476 homeowners who qualify for these programs. 

Another $40 million would fund a new program that would give home repair loans to households making less than 120 percent of area median income. 

“That’s what we want to do — not rehab four or five houses at a time because we’ll never get us to where we need to get,” he said. “There’s a sense of urgency out in a lot of neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia.”

To pay for it, Clarke is suggesting a $100 million bond sale and a 0.1 percent increase in the city’s real estate transfer tax to service the debt. 

This idea comes as council members are debating a three-cents-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks to pay for another bond sale proposal: Mayor Jim Kenney’s $300 million plan to fix up parks, recreation centers and libraries.

 

This is a corrected version of this story. Clarke’s proposal involves a 0.1 percent increase in the city’s real estate transfer tax, not a one-cent increase. 

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