Penn Expands Boundaries of West Philly Home-Buying Program

University employees given loan assistance to buy near campus.

A Penn program credited with helping revitalize the residential neighborhoods around the university’s West Philly campus is expanding its boundaries.

CBS Philly reports:

For years, Penn has been offering employees forgivable loans if they buy or renovate in a defined area surrounding the campus.

Housing values have also gone up, so now, in a quest to help employees find more affordable housing, Penn is pushing boundaries for the program westward to 56th Street and South to Paschall.

Penn offers details:

Faculty and staff of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) and it affiliates have the opportunity to purchase or rehabilitate homes in an expanded area in West Philadelphia. The forgivable loan footprint has been extended westward from the east side of 52nd Street to the east side of 56th Street, from Market Street to Paschall Avenue. The program area also includes the residential housing across the street from South Bank. The border remains the same along the Schuylkill River while the northern boundary travels along Haverford Avenue, changing to Market at 44th Street.

The new boundaries present a wider range of residential housing options in the neighboring communities to qualified employees. The new borders are aligned with several public schools, which receive a variety of support through Penn and the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Additionally, most of the program’s footprint is in Penn’s Division of Public Safety’s patrol zone but certain portions are part of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 18th District.

The move is raising concerns about gentrification in deep West Philly neighborhoods, CBS reports. About three dozen homeowners a year participated in the program under the old boundaries.