15th March, 2019
Social Responsibility and Narrowing the Gap in Philadelphia

Post Brothers takes social responsibility seriously. In addition to taking a leadership role in green development and sustainable building practices, before Post Brothers acquires a property for development, the company analyzes the land use impact and neighborhood quality of life of the proposed site. Post Brothers’ award-winning Philadelphia apartments for rent come to a realization only after thoughtful and careful property selection — only acquiring properties in population dense in-fill areas that are in excellent proximity to major transportation systems, employment centers, and neighborhood amenities.

Post Brothers prides itself on supporting the local community, and regularly donates their time and financial support to non-profit and local organizations across a wide array of interests including architecture, arts, community development, medical aid and research, education, youth development, athletics, and cultural awareness.

Post Brothers has proudly provided donations to the following organizations and programs: the Asian Arts Initiative, Avenue of the Arts, Inc., the Callowhill Neighborhood Association, Cancer Foundation, Inc., CHAD, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, The Decathalon, Friends of Rail Park, Friends of Cloverly Park, Germantown United Community Corporation, Hidden City, Independence Mission Schools, the Kimmel Center, Mt. Airy, USA, PCDC, Scenic Philadelphia, St. Martin de Porres School, Drexel University Wrestling, Beat the Streets Philadelphia, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Philadelphia City Council recently published a report outlining a series of planned initiatives to make Philadelphia more open and accessible to all residents.

The main goal of these housing initiatives is to preserve housing affordability and protect existing homeowners, according to the “Narrowing the Gap” report. Following are some key findings and strategic ideas the Philadelphia City Council brainstormed to address the problem of poverty as it related to housing in Philadelphia. Read the full report, including the sections about jobs and education and the social safety net.

Linkage Fees

Linkage fees, or development impact fees, help make housing affordable for the residents most in need. They have the potential to counteract the rising prices of homes by charging developers a fee for building a certain type of property, including developments with a very high price point or tearing down housing units to build office space. These collected fees are then used to ensure enough affordable housing is available. Linkage fees have been successfully implemented in San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, and Cambridge. To implement a linkage fee, the city must conduct a nexus study and determine changes to the tax code.

Require Affordable Housing from Tax Incentive Recipients

Tax incentives are used to support development projects, typically for rehab projects or residential/commercial construction. If these tax incentive recipients are required to preserve the affordability for the housing units they are working on, then affordable housing is maintained.

Residential Properties on Public Land Must Have Affordable Units

The city of Philadelphia owns a lot of land, including vacant properties, in the city. Mistakes were made in the past where these types of lots/land were given to developers who then created non-affordable housing that even pushed rent prices up in neighboring developments. By requiring developers who are constructing on public land to ensure a certain percentage of the units are affordable, the affordability problem could be mitigated.

Use the Federal Qualified Opportunity Zones Program

The Federal Qualified Opportunity Zones Program zeroes in on private investors with unrealized capital gains — these incentives would give investors the opportunity to roll their gains into a Qualified Opportunity Fund, which is then used by the city to support affordable housing. Ultimately, the investor will benefit from a temporary tax deferral, or other types of incentives. The Qualified Opportunity Fund could be used to create affordable housing, retail stores, healthcare spaces, hotels, mixed-use developments, office space, and restaurants.

Develop Partnerships with Healthcare Organizations

Research from the Philadelphia Association for Community Development Corporations show that there is a link between health outcomes and affordable housing. For example, Medicare and Medicaid programs have begun implementing programs to address a lack of safe and affordable housing. The healthcare institution would benefit from lowered healthcare costs when treating patients who are exposed to environmental triggers, or even dealing with the specific healthcare needs of homeless individuals. These types of programs are successful in Maryland, California, Phoenix, Vermont, and other places where hospitals and health systems are using their resources to find solutions to affordable housing issues.

Expand Preservation and Relief Programs

Philadelphia does have a number of tax relief programs to assist the segment of the population that is at risk of being priced out of their neighborhoods due to gentrification. While successful, the City Council feels that more can be done. For example, the Owner-Occupied Payment Agreement (OOPA) is a program designed to help homeowners make affordable monthly past-due tax payments on their homes; while successful, more can be done to promote it and enroll even more homeowners. Another example is the existing Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) which provides tax assistance to homeowners that are suddenly experiencing a sharp rise in property values; now, even more people are eligible for this program thanks to new legislation that expands the list of qualified homeowners.

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