Philadelphia Specific Research
For several decades Philadelphia possessed more houses than households. As its population dove by 25% after 1950, homes were left to deteriorate and the City suffered as 60,000 properties were abandoned over the next five decades. Today, Philadelphia’s population is growing again and its property values are rising. From 2004 to 2014, single-family homes appreciated an average of 22% in the city.1 This makes preserving the city’s affordable rowhouses critical.
From Mantua to Kensington residents are asking for help repairing their homes in order to ensure that they can remain in their neighborhoods as new amenities and residents are coming in.
The city and its non-profits have repaired thousands of homes over the past decades to stop deterioration and abandonment. Below are key studies that analyze those efforts, their strengths and their weaknesses.
- Nan Feyler, The Impact of Housing Quality on Children’s Health in Philadelphia (Feb 2015).
Presents key data around children’s health in Philadelphia and the 2013-2014 pilot program by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and St. Christopher’s Hospital that removed asthma triggers in the home and lowered hospitalizations by 70% and cut school absences by 53%.
- William M. Rohe, Spencer M. Cowan and Roberto Quercia, Coordinating Energy and Rehabilitation Services for Lower-income Homeowners: Lessons Learned from the Weatherization, Rehabilitation and Asset Preservation Program (2009).
This is a detailed evaluation of the Philadelphia Weatherization, Rehabilitation and Asset Preservation (WRAP) program established in 2002 as a demonstration program to test the feasibility of coordinating housing weatherization and rehabilitation services at the local level for the purpose of helping lower-income homeowners maintain their property, lower energy costs, reduce safety hazards, and increase the asset value of their homes. The average amount invested per unit was $6,698. WRAP found that many lower-income homeowners, particularly elderly ones, are reluctant to take out loans for housing rehabilitation.
- Karen Black, Effectively Preserving Philadelphia’s Workforce Housing Stock (February 2009).
Brief suggests ways to help improve more Philadelphia homes with limited funding. Study found that a cost-effective public investment of $6,911 under the Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP), can in many cases prevent residential abandonment and keep the workforce housing viable. The cost to the city of not repairing these occupied homes is up to six times greater.
- Report on Weatherization, Rehabilitation and Asset Preservation (WRAP), Partnership in Philadelphia: Final Report by the Energy Coordinating Agency (2007).
The Philadelphia Weatherization, Rehabilitation and Asset Preservation (WRAP) Partnership lowered displacement of low-income homeowners in South Philadelphia and leveraged more than $450,000 in loans and $250,000 of owner’s own money. Message that after the improvements an owner’s property will be worth more and their monthly bills will be lowered, resonated with residents and caused them to enroll.
- J Allegretti, Santiago Burgos, Kevin Maguire, The Reinvestment Fund, Integrating the Basic Systems Repair and Weatherization Assistance Programs: A Pilot Program Plan (January 2010).
Develops a model for how the City’s home repair and weatherization programs can be coordinated to establish a neighborhood-focused housing preservation strategy.
- Karen Black, Repairing Houses, Preserving Homes
Philadelphia’s Home Repair Crisis and What We Can Do About It (May 2005).
Makes the case for why the city’s home repair program is a cost effective and necessary approach to reducing property abandonment, preserving affordable housing, and preventing homelessness.
- J Allegretti, C Daspit, T Neri, Expanding Capacity and Speeding Production in the Basic Systems Repair Program (April 2005).
Studied the delivery system used by the City of Philadelphia’s Basic System Repair program and made recommendation on ways to increase the number of homes served by the program and speed up the delivery of those services.
- Blight Free Philadelphia: A Public-Private Strategy to Create and Enhance Neighborhood Value, Research for Democracy (2001).
Found that the Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP) significantly lowered the chance that a property would be abandoned. Study found that of the almost 12,000 houses that received BSRP grants from 1995 to 2000, only 117 or fewer than 1% were found to have been abandoned by 2000.
- Econsult Solutions Philadelphia Housing Index analyzed the sale of single-family homes, excluding condominiums, for 4Q2004 to 4Q2014.