Rehabilitation, the Quality of Life, Jobs, and the future of
I have been walking the district I have seen a problem that is just
heart wrenching. Most of the blocks in this district are basically
strong. Ninety percent of the people on the block work hard at steady
jobs, take care of their children, and do their best to keep the houses
they own or rent in good shape. But on almost every block there are one,
two, or three houses that create problems for the whole neighborhood.
Some of these houses are in a terrible state of disrepair and attract
residents with serious personal problems. Others have been sealed are
home only to vermin. Many of them have unkempt yards that are full
unkempt and full of litter. Still other houses have been taken over by
people who use them to sell drugs or conduct other illicit business.
These houses are dispiriting and dangerous for everyone who lives on the
block. The problems they create must be addressed in a coordinated way.
Every relevant arm of the city and state has to be brought in to solve
The first task is to rid these houses of immediate dangers. If they are
falling downand perhaps taking neighboring houses with themthey need
to be shored up. If they are unfit for human habitation they must be
sealed. And if their yards are filthy, they must be cleaned.
But band-aids are not enough. We need to rehabilitate these problem
houses. Most of these houses are in good structural condition and retain
much of the character and charm that makes the housing stock in
Philadelphia so special. No one is making houses like the single family,
twin, and row houses of Philadelphia any more. Even the best new
construction one finds today does not have the quality and workmanship
of most of the houses in our district. I know this, because I have seen
them, inside and out, with my own eyes.
More people will want to live in our city and district if we can
rehabilitate the problem houses and, in doing so, dramatically improve
the quality of life in the blocks and neighborhoods in which they are
And, in the process of rehabilitating these houses, we can provide jobs
for the residents of our neighborhoods and training opportunities for
our young people.
There is much work being done on this problem. If elected your state
representative, I will support existing Community Development
Corporations (CDCs) in their efforts to rehabilitate our housing stock
and provide jobs for our residents. And, I will help residents start new
CDCs ones in areas that are not now served by them. I will work to find
the resources we need to do this job. I will seek out small, minority
owned construction companies to do this work, and encourage them to hire
and train young people for this work. I will also work to find resources
for housing counseling so that more of our residents can become
The Mayors Neighborhood Transformation Initiative has made a start in
this direction. However, I am afraid that there has been too much
demolition of our housing stock and not enough rehabilitation. In the
198th district people dont need or want our wonderful
housing stock and close knit neighborhoods to be demolished. In Logan,
Nicetown, Tioga, Germantown, and Mt. Airy, they want to rebuild our
blocks and neighborhoods house by house.