Clarke Wants $100 Million to Fund Housing Repairs

The Council President will introduce a bold, expensive bill Thursday to expand housing preservation programs.

City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. | Copyright of the Philadelphia City Council. Produced and Edited by Michael Falconi

City Council President Darrell Clarke | Copyright of City Council/Produced and edited by Michael Falconi

Council President Darrell Clarke will introduce legislation on Thursday to expand a variety of city programs aimed at housing repair and preservation. This would be paid for with the proceeds of a $100 million bond issue, according to an email sent by Clarke’s office to all members of City Council.

The legislation would also raise the city’s realty transfer tax by 0.1 percent in order to pay down the debt from the bond sale. That would bring in an additional $100 in tax revenue for every $100,000 of value in the sale of a house, on top of what the transfer tax already returns.

In a memo to Council members, Clarke said that $60 million from the bond proceeds would be used to expand existing programs that help fund maintenance and repair for private homeowners. Those include the Basic Systems Repair, Adaptive Modifications and Weatherization Assistance programs.

The other $40 million would be dedicated to a new program that would provide affordable loans for housing repairs to homeowners who make less than 120 percent of area median income.

Clarke’s proposal comes right in the middle of the new mayoral administration’s first budget fight. Mayor Jim Kenney has asked for Council to approve a $300 million bond sale to fund renovations and repairs to parks, libraries and recreation centers. He’s also seeking Council’s approval of a three-cents-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sugary beverages.

To date, Clarke has not taken a firm stance on the soda tax, though he has suggested that three cents per ounce would be too high.

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