PHA Accepts HOPE VI Demolition Grant Urges Continuation of HOPE VI Program

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Thanks to a $2.7 million grant from Washington, some more outdated public housing is about to come tumbling down at The Philadelphia Housing Authority's Abbottsford Development. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented the award during ceremonies at Abbottsford, located in Philadelphia's Hunting Park neighborhood. The money will be used to demolish 400 old houses, clearing the way for new development.

PHA Executive Director Carl Greene said planners are determining the best use for the land but he suggested the property would probably be redeveloped with a combination of market-rate housing and commercial businesses. He added that demolition would begin in several months. Greene also used the occasion to urge the Bush Administration to rethink plans to eliminate the HOPE VI program. He echoed the sentiments of HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson in pointing to the four HOPE VI sites in Philadelphia as shining examples of how the program works exactly as envisioned by Congress.

"Anyone who has seen the transformation of the Richard Allen, Martin Luther King or Schuylkill Falls sites can see how HOPE VI dollars - properly administered and leveraged - can turn around entire communities. Our fourth and most recent HOPE VI grant is now starting to have its impact on the old Mill Creek site, a development we now call Lucien E. Blackwell Homes," said Greene. The award presentation provided a bittersweet moment for HUD Assistant Secretary Steven Nesmith, who grew up at Abbottsford. He was nostalgic about his old neighborhood, but said he knew the redevelopment of the property would provide hope for more low-income residents.

Phase I renovations at Abbotsford were completed in 2001. The site boasts a new community center and modernized low-rise apartments. This award from HUD will help complete the transformation of this property. Carl Greene said the idea at this location is the same as other PHA sites being rebuilt to make PHA housing a force for positive change in the neighborhood. The HOPE VI program was developed in the late 1980s as a tool to revitalize severely distressed public housing.

About PHA

PHA is transforming public housing in the city of Philadelphia. As the nation's fourth largest public housing agency serving more than 78,000 residents, PHA is the first housing authority in the U. S. designated by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) of the National Association of Realtors as an "Accredited Management Organization." This designation is awarded to firms engaged in property management that have met IREM's high standards in the areas of education, experience, integrity and financial stability.

PHA Exec. Director Carl Greene and PHA Commissioner Nellie Reynolds receive a $2.7 million HOPE VI grant from HUD Asst. Secretary Steven Nesmith and HUD Regional Director Milton Pratt.

HUD Asst. Secretary Steven Nesmith, a former Abbottsford resident, says the redevelopment of the site will provide more hope for low-income residents struggling to become self-sufficient.

A view of the some of the homes at Abbottsford that will eventually be demolished for modern housing and commercial businesses.