There are roughly 65,000 vacant properties throughout the city of Philadelphia that are hindering the economic growth of the area. With the presence of vacant properties, crime and drug related activities have an opportunity to rise, and the city itself sees a drastic absence in potential revenue in property taxes every year.
For the city, this might be their most ambitious and important endeavor they have ever undertaken, and is essential in assuring a bright future for our children. “Vacant parcels of land have long been a source of crime, blight, reduction of property values, and an overall hindrance to neighborhood revitalization”, said Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia. “Returning these properties to productive uses is a critical step in revitalizing communities, attracting new residents and businesses, assisting our schools, building household wealth and strengthening the City’s finances”.
The obvious solution among developers has been to construct market-rate homes in gentrifying neighborhoods in an effort to reduce blight and optimize their potential capital gains. However, for many people living in these areas, the construction of solely market-rate housing is far from the answer. With the introduction of market-rate homes, residents within the local community are unable to afford new homes, and are then forced to search other areas for more affordable options. Those already living in the neighborhood would also face the inevitable rise in property taxes, making it more difficult for them to afford to live there.
Helping Hands will instead target vacant and blighted properties with the purpose rehabilitating them into affordable and market-rate housing for the community. Helping Hands will locate and petition to become Conservator of properties that are vacant, with no identifiable owner or human connection to the property. In addition, the property under consideration for Conservatorship will be labeled under the category of blight, as stipulated under Act 135. Helping Hands will then be able to partner with reliable proven partnerships in development and financing in order to efficiently complete the rehabilitation process.
The benefits of implementing affordable and market-rate housing in replace of neglected properties do not only aid in the increase of the standard of living, but it will also drastically improve the school system. Currently, the public school system is comprised in such a way that their funding is rewarded based upon the tax base of the surrounding neighborhoods. If the tax base is low, then consequently, the school system receives little funding. Over a period of time of consistent low funding, such as experienced by the Philadelphia School District, schools will be unable to appropriately improve the educational experience, ultimately hindering the economic and financial growth for generations.
Being the Conservator, Helping Hands Philadelphia will be permitted to retain a 20% fee that results after the final sale of the property. As such, 15% will be reallocated to the establishment and daily operation of various community development initiatives. These community development programs will include computer labs, free health clinics, language centers, after-school programs, etc.
Helping Hands Philadelphia is a 501(c)3 organization made up of ambitious and experienced individuals with a knack for social enterprise, and a passion for helping those in need. Its staff consists of lawyers based in Philadelphia, community leaders, financial experts, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 2013, Helping Hands Philadelphia will be known for its innovation in job creation, educational outlets, healthcare, and initiatives that improves the GED and dropout rate throughout the designated area.
Helping Hands Philadelphia is grateful to have these organizations for their partnership and support
- Streamline Solutions
- Students Helping Students
Helping Hands Philadelphia is currently located at 2301 Washington Ave., but will soon be moving to 2352 Federal St. Philadelphia, PA. 19146 during spring, 2015!
Want to learn more about how Helping Hands is contributing to the community? Contact us today.