HUD, Philadelphia Housing Authority sign agreement to certify 760 units for people with disabilities
WASHINGTON – October 16, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) signed an agreement today that ensures the housing authority will certify 760 fully accessible housing units by 2013, including 152 units by the end of this year. The agreement, which ultimately sets aside 5 percent of PHA’s housing stock for people with disabilities, also allows the housing authority to continue operating under HUD’s Moving to Work (MTW) program, which gives the agency management flexibilities.
“When I became Secretary, I pledged to Senators Specter and Casey that I would take a fresh look at the situation in Philadelphia and seek an equitable resolution,” said HUD Secretary Steve Preston. “I am pleased that today we have a win for people with disabilities and a win for the city. Now resources can be focused on housing families in need.”
“The agreement is a great opportunity for PHA to reinforce our commitment to the disabled community. Our plan is to remain well above the minimum number of accessible homes. We are grateful to Secretary Preston as well as Senators Specter and Casey for making this ten-year MTW agreement possible. Now PHA can continue to design programs that work best for Philadelphia,” said PHA Executive Director Carl Greene.
“I applaud PHA and HUD for working together to resolve their differences for the sake of 84,000 public housing residents in Philadelphia,” said Senator Arlen Specter. “I commend Secretary Preston for his diligence in bringing about a resolution to this matter. The MTW program is a valuable program because it provides budget flexibility to low-income housing programs so that funds can be applied where they’re needed. I am pleased that Senator Casey and I were able to help facilitate an agreement that allows Philadelphia’s vital MTW program to continue.”
“At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis, this agreement will give the Philadelphia Housing Authority and its leadership the flexibility they need to marshal resources to provide many low-income families a roof over their heads,” said Senator Bob Casey. “This agreement goes to show you what hard work can to do help those who are most vulnerable. I want to thank Secretary Preston and Senator Specter for their diligence and I look forward to continuing to work with them on behalf of the residents of Philadelphia.”
Under the agreement, the PHA will:
- Identify a minimum of 5 percent of its housing stock for people with disabilities by certifying 760 fully accessible units over the next four years -, with 152 identified by December 31, 2008 and 152 each year for the next four years. The units will feature appropriate level kitchen counters, ramps, and other accessible design features that ensure individuals with mobility disabilities can fully use their units and all associated common areas.
- Ensure that accessible housing units are geographically dispersed throughout its housing developments;
- Provide accessible housing in a range of bedroom sizes to accommodate families – both small and large;
- Maximize utilization of accessible units by individuals with disabilities and their family members who need accessible features.
“Many people with disabilities have low incomes and rely heavily on subsidized housing,” said HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs Bryan Greene. “Agreements like this ensure that an adequate number of accessible units will be where persons with disabilities need them the most.”
As the fourth largest public housing authority in the nation, the Philadelphia Housing Authority owns and manages over 15,000 units in 59 developments and scattered site housing throughout the city. Since February 2002, the PHA has participated in HUD’s Moving to Work Program, which allows a select number of housing authorities more flexibility to design and test ways to promote self-sufficiency among families who receive HUD rental assistance; find efficiencies to reduce costs; and increase housing choices for low-income households.