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Philly puts $100M toward city’s free home repair assistance program

Years of backlogged requests from homeowners are getting their due

Now with fresh funding of $100 million, hundreds of Philly homeowners will finally receive free assistance from the city to make their homes more livable.

The city announced yesterday that with the new revenue, authorized by City Council last year, it will be able to address its three- to five-year waiting list for its free programs that help with home repairs, long-term disability modifications, and energy efficiency.

At yesterday’s announcement, which took place in Olney in front of the first home to be repaired as part of the program, City Council president Darrell Clarke said, “Homes are not islands. We should all care about our neighbors and about making sure every Philadelphian is able to live in a community of choice.”

The $100 million comes from last year’s .1 percent hike in the real estate transfer tax. City Council president Darrell Clarke proposed that the revenue raised from the modest increase should go toward funding three Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) programs: The Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP), Adaptive Modifications Program (AMP), and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

People who live in single-family homes throughout Philadelphia and meet certain household income requirements are eligible for these free programs. But the years-long waiting list means that many of these homeowners have been living in poor conditions.

Clarke told Philly Mag’s Property that more than 7,000 backlogged requests have piled up over the past few years. The backlog got so bad that “by the time we got to a request, the owner may have moved because the house was no longer in livable condition.”

Since January, the city has been training additional staff to help with the home repairs, which encompass everything from damaged roofs to exposed wiring.