HUD Commits $500,000 for Housing Mobility Demonstration Project in southeast Pa

2012 Awardees

Pictured: Councilman Nathaniel Goodson, Upper Darby; Awardees Isaac Dotson, Yeadon Economic Development Corportation; Tom Gemmill, St. James Episcopal Church Lancaster; Rev. Marlon Millner, McKinley Memorial Baptist Church and Norristown Council, Caitlin Ganley on behalf of Rep. Meehan; Ed Williams on behalf of Senator Casey, Estelle Richman, HUD and keynote speaker HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones

On November 29, 2012, the First Suburbs Project and Building One Pennsylvania celebrated an announcement by U.S. HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones of the commitment of $500,000 for a demonstration project in southeast Pennsylvania to reform practices within the Housing Choice Voucher program that reinforce the concentration of poverty and limit opportunities for families.

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White House Round table Highlights Challenges of Diverse, Middle Class Suburbs

The First Suburbs Project and Building One Pennsylvania hosted a White House Round table meeting in August 2012 in Valley Forge with the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, David Agnew.  The meeting, which was attended by 60 local leaders representing 35 towns, resulted in several tangible outcomes: Mr. Agnew affirmed the White House’s support for the work that we have been doing with HUD over the past year to reform federal housing programs to promote opportunity rather than continue to over-steer low-income housing into our middle class suburban communities – communities that are already diverse, increasingly fiscally challenged, and declining in opportunity.  Mr. Agnew also heard our concerns about how infrastructure investments and education policy can better serve our diverse, middle class towns and he pledged to broker meetings with EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  In particular, he recognized that EPA demands on our aging storm-water and sewer systems have put tremendous fiscal pressure on our communities that get passed on to homeowners and businesses in the form of increased property taxes and utility rates.

First Suburbs Project Releases Regional Study

On Saturday June 9, 2012, 75 local leaders gathered for the First Suburbs Project’s Public Briefing at the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church.  The Briefing including the release of a recent Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) study that identifies a significant mismatch between housing and jobs.  The briefing included state and federal policy recommendations — including action on school funding in the state’s 2012 budget and passage of a bi-partisan federal transportation reauthorization bill — to enhance the region’s economic competitiveness, and promote regional opportunity and sustainability.

In 2008, the First Suburbs Project secured funding support from the Department of Community and Economic Development to study the alignment of jobs and housing in the four suburban counties. DVRPC was recruited to conduct the study, and expanded it to a study of the entire metropolitan region.  After assessing the region’s current housing stock to evaluate the balance between jobs and housing, the report concludes that many of the region’s largest employment centers are located in growing suburbs, in places that lack both affordable housing opportunities and transit access.

Speakers included Upper Darby’s Mayor Micozzie, Upper Darby School District Superintendent DeVlieger, Lansdowne’s Mayor Young and Mary Bell of DVRPC.

See the DVRPC study ‘The Mismatch between Housing and Jobs’: here.  Read more about the Public Briefing in the press: The News of Delaware County and The Daily Times.

2011 Leaders: Building Our Future Together

The Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project’s December 8th Second Annual Fundraiser and Inaugural Awards Ceremony was a success.

Pictured: Awardee Victory Christian Fellowship Pastor Rev. Ed Crenshaw, HUD Acting Deputy Secretary Estelle Richman, Upper Darby Councilman Nate Goodson, Awardee Coatesville City Assistant Manager Kirby Hudson and Ted Reed, former Coatesville City Manager

Also honored were U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach and State Senator Ted Erickson.
In her remarks, keynote speaker, HUD Acting Deputy Secretary Estelle Richman, enthusiastically reiterated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s commitments to the First Suburbs Project that HUD “is willing, ready and able” to do whatever it can to make our region a model mobility, diversity and fair housing enforcement.

Read more in the Daily Local News.

Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools

Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools

BROOKINGS: April 19, 2012 —

As the nation grapples with the growing gap between rich and poor and an economy increasingly reliant on formal education, public policies should address housing market regulations that prohibit all but the very affluent from enrolling their children in high-scoring public schools in order to promote individual social mobility and broader economic security.

Click here for report.