Philadelphia, Camden rake in stimulus funds

The City of Philadelphia will receive nearly $44 million in stimulus funds, with the city of Camden raking in another $26 million for job creation and housing programs, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday.

The grants were part of the $2 billion in Recovery Act funding detailed by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan that went directly to cities, states and non-profit housing development organizations.

"Philadelphia is famous as a city of neighborhoods and today’s announcement is a huge boost for communities across this city,” Mayor Nutter said in a press release. “We have fought for every dollar possible from the Recovery Act to help create jobs and invest in Philadelphia. These funds will enable us to build new affordable homes and to put more Philadelphians back to work.”

Philadelphia will spend the money to buy and refurbish foreclosed homes, provide second loans to owners in danger of losing their homes, demolish blighted structures and redevelop foreclosed multi-family properties, according to the city.

The competitive grants were spread across the country, with the city of Los Angeles taking in $100 million, the most of any city. Chicago received $98 million, Phoenix $60 million

Nutter credited Philadelphia's Congressional delegation -- Sen. Robert Casey, Sen. Arlen Specter, U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz -- for supporting the city's application.

The city of Camden will receive $26.07 million through two grants.

The Housing Authority, the nonprofit The Heart of Camden and two for-profit developers have partnered to buy and restore 100 abandoned or foreclosed, demolish 23 blighted buildings and redevelop 70 vacant properties. The work will be targeted to neighborhoods where there are ongoing redevelopment efforts.

The Camden Redevelopment Agency has joined with four community development groups to rehabilitate 146 homes and demolish another 66. The group will receive $11.93 million.

The rehabbed homes will be sold as affordable housing. Both grants will benefit homebuyers whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the area median income, with a quarter of the money targeted to projects that benefit people making no more than half of the area median income.


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