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The hidden costs of foreclosure: Stabilizing low-income Philadelphia neighborhoods helps us all

July 9th, 2018 | The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Elyse Cherry

The foreclosure crisis may have eased across much of America, but it’s still a problem in lower-income communities, nationwide and particularly in Philadelphia.

In 2017, Philadelphia had the third-highest foreclosure rate of metro areas in the United States at 1.26 percent, more than double the national average of 0.51 percent. RealtyTrac currently reports that there are nearly 7,000 properties in Philadelphia in some stage of foreclosure.

Foreclosure continues to destabilize lower-income and minority communities and affect home values throughout Philadelphia. Historically, Philadelphia’s black population built wealth through homeownership in predominantly African American “middle” neighborhoods, where home values ranged from roughly 50 percent below to 50 percent above the city’s median home sale price ($96,500).

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Tax on new construction advances despite Kenney concerns, scorching criticism from building trades

June 6th, 2018 | The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Julia Terruso

A tax on new construction to fund affordable housing moved one step closer to passage Wednesday despite pressure from the city’s building trades to abandon the plan, concerns from the Kenney administration about its effect on businesses, and criticism from housing advocates who said the levy could end up benefiting wealthier Philadelphians.

The 1 percent tax, which would be placed on most new construction, could raise up to $19 million a year for affordable housing at a time when the city is experiencing a dire shortage, proponents of the bill said.

“We think this is going to give a significant boost to our entire city, not just Center City, where the market is going through the roof,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke said. “I think it’s an awesome program. It’s Philly-first. While we’re excited about new people in the city, at some point we have to address the needs of people who are here.”

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McClinton wants gun violence declared a public health crisis

April 25th, 2018 | The Philadelphia Tribune

By Stacy Brown

During a series of hearings on gun violence before the House Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-191), highlighted what she called the disparity in coverage of gun violence between low-income communities of color and more affluent majority-white communities.

“While it took tragedies like the Parkland [Fla. high school] and Las Vegas shootings to gather us here, I would like to remind everyone that communities of color in Philadelphia, Delaware, Berks, Dauphin, Cambria and Allegheny counties have been victims of gun violence for decades,” McClinton said during her testimony.

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