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The Philadelphia Housing Authority: More Than A Home

The Philadelphia Housing Authority, a Moving to Work agency, is more than just an affordable housing provider. PHA is also the largest social service agency in the City. Over the past year, the authority has made an impact in the lives of families, seniors, at-risk individuals, veterans and persons living with disabilities. Here are some outstanding examples proving PHA is more than just a home. CommunityPartnersResidentFair-Philadelphia Housing Authority

Helping residents to reach self-sufficiency is the driving motivation behind much of PHA’s work. Through the authority’s Education Department, 679 residents have received adult basic education testing in English, Math, and Reading helping them to become eligible for one of PHAs highly demanded job training programs. The Community Partners Program provides training in customer service, culinary arts and human services in addition to entrepreneurial training, certified nursing and commercial driving training. PHA’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program offers long-term employment at the housing authority itself for residents interested in working as a maintenance mechanic, painter or other trade specialist, or laborer. In July 2014, 171 PHA residents were also PHA employees making up 12 percent of the total agency workforce. PHA hopes to see that number grow to 25 percent, and with a waiting list of more than 50 residents, it certainly seems like the agency will reach its mark.

BookbagGiveaway_LeeMazin-Philadelphia Housing AuthorityPHA does not take education lightly. That’s why, in 2013 and again in 2014, PhillySeeds Inc., a subsidiary of PHA, partnered with Staples, Citizens Bank, Santander Bank, Weichert Realty and local colleges and universities to get residents ready to head back to school. Through the partnership, PHA and local businesses distributed 7,000 book bags filled with school supplies in preparation for the new year. But before the school year even got started, the authority was busy offering healthy, safe activities, like participating in the Housing America Campaign’s annual “What Home Means to Me” poster contest, as well as breakfast and lunch to youth residents through their Summer Food Service Program, a PHA staple for more than 30 years. Thanks to the Summer Food Service Program, more than 61,000 meals were served in 2014 and an additional 43,000 meals were served in 2013 while simultaneously providing part-time employment for clients and residents.

One of the largest barriers to residents’ purchase of affordable homes in Philadelphia is obtaining the funds to cover closing costs. PhillySeeds, Inc., not only helps raise money for academic scholarship and entrepreneurial ventures, but it also fundraises grant money for low-income persons or families in the market to purchase an affordable home.

In 2014, PHA expanded rental housing opportunity for seniors, currently homeless and at-risk persons through partnerships with developers and local housing providers. PHA contributed 65 Project-Based Vouchers to various new developments in the metro region in an effort to increase access to affordable housing and eventually, self-sufficiency.

NAHRO thanks you, PHA, for your commitment and dedication to not only providing a home for those most vulnerable, but a way forward.

Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity: NAHRO Staff Gives Back

DC Central Kitchen_1 Today, ten of national NAHRO’s staff members gave back to the DC community by volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen, a local nonprofit located near the Capitol known for reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise. From 9 a.m.-12 p.m., our staff worked alongside D.C. Central Kitchen staff, volunteers and culinary school students preparing enough food for more than 4,000 of tomorrow’s meals for city’s homeless and low-income populations.

“This was my first time volunteering at the D.C. Central Kitchen,” said Tamarha Walker, regional service officer for the NAHRO Middle Atlantic Regional Council (MARC). “I came away with not only improved culinary skills, but with also a renewed reality check that there are still thousands of families and single persons without access to healthy food options.”

While a main focus of D.C. Central Kitchen is to feed hungry and at-risk neighbors daily, they are also committed to eliminating food waste among local restaurants, universities and corporate partners; providing fresh produce options in food deserts throughout the metro region; and training hardworking, low-income persons to become self-sufficient through culinary art. In 2013 alone, D.C. Central Kitchen estimates that they recovered 737,564 pounds of food for their meals and saved $155,573 in food costs by securing donated produce. Through its Healthy Corners program, D.C. Central Kitchen sold over 7,500 healthy snacks, including fresh produce, per month to corner stores serving lower-income residents with limited access to grocery stores. Since 2008, 339 graduates of D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program have achieved a job placement rate of 90 percent and a job retention rate of 85 percent.

Each fall, in preparation for Housing America Month, we ask our members to consider hosting an event showcasing the positive impacts of affordable housing in their communities. Historically, we have participated in a local Habitat for Humanity build, but this year, we wanted to stress the importance of cross-industry collaboration and the positive impacts which can occur when addressing the needs of the whole person.

DC Central Kitchen_2

“Barriers to food accessibility is a real issue which many of our members’ clients and residents face every day,” said John Bohm, director of Congressional Relations, Public Affairs and Field Operations for NAHRO. “Partnering with other nonprofits and for profits to address issues like access to healthy food options and transportation is critical to addressing the root causes of poverty and helping a person to reach self-sufficiency.”

Austin: AAHC Breaks Ground on Two Affordable Housing Projects

Austin: AAHC Breaks Ground on Two Affordable Housing Projects

POBW ELEV RENDER_AustinAustin, Texas is about to get a lot more affordable housing. On Sept. 30, the Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC), a subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, and developer LDG Development broke ground on two affordable housing properties, which will provide a total of 443 new multifamily units.

The Pointe at Ben White and the Villages at Ben White will create a neighborhood featuring garden-style apartments. The Villages will target veterans and seniors and will closely coordinate with the nearby Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic.  Family housing will be a priority for The Pointe, with the property coordinating with key social service agencies in the area.

“Austin needs more affordable housing, and we are excited that construction on these two apartment communities is underway,” said Michael Gerber, President and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.  “Austin seniors, veterans, and families will soon have new affordable housing options.  We look forward to showcasing these properties as a model of what can be achieved when working with an involved, thoughtful community and an experienced developer.”

The properties will be located at 7000 East Ben White Boulevard in South Austin.

Both properties will feature one-, two-, and three-bedroom units with Energy Star appliances; they will also have central air conditioning, ceiling fans and combination hardwood and carpeted flooring. Onsite community amenities include a furnished clubhouse, a business center, an exercise facility, and outdoor facilities including a playground.

Ben White Site Plan (300x205)

“The Pointe at Ben White and the Villages at Ben White are excellent examples of the type of progress cities and smaller communities can make in meeting the housing needs of our nation’s most vulnerable when nonprofit and for profit organizations collaborate together,” said Clifton Martin, CME, chair of NAHRO’s Housing America Campaign. “The Housing America Campaign honors housing authorities and community development agencies like the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC) for educating national decision makers and community leaders; advocating on behalf of lower-income families and individuals, veterans, children and seniors, and persons living with disabilities; and empowering clients and residents to share how accessing affordable, stable housing has impacted their lives.”

For more examples of innovative, forward thinking affordable housing developments like these, visit the Housing America Campaign website.