The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) released a policy agenda calling for protections for renters, home owners, small businesses, and the nonprofits that serve them, to help Philadelphia make it through the immediate COVID-19 crisis.
This agenda calls on our representatives in Washington D.C., Harrisburg, and Philadelphia City Hall, as well as philanthropists, to make significant investments in programs to:
- Prevent residential and commercial evictions and foreclosures through rental and utility assistance, outreach, and mediation programs;
- Expand adequate housing options for people experiencing homelessness and are at grave risk for exposure to coronavirus;
- Ensure that affordable housing production, preservation, and repair continues;
- Provide flexible sources of funding, enhanced technical assistance, and improve data collection for and about small businesses on our neighborhood commercial corridors to keep them in business, prevent vacancy, and keep our corridors clean and safe;
- Support the non-profits that serve residents and small businesses by ensuring they have necessary operating support to survive, and flexibility so they can provide needed services effectively and efficiently;
- Address challenges like the digital divide and language access that create inequitable access to resources, and ensure that individuals not served by federal programs due to immigration status or other barriers are served by more flexible local resources.
The investments called for in PACDC’s agenda are vital to survival and recovery strategies in Philadelphia. Over the last twenty-eight years, community development corporations in Philadelphia have directly invested more than $3.9 billion in our communities which realized an additional $1.5 billion in local economic activity. This work has created over 12,000 full-time equivalent jobs locally, and generated $45 million in tax revenue. In fact, it was during some of the most challenging economic times such as through the Great Recession that a great deal of this work happened. CDCs and related non-profits continue serving our communities when others are unable, and no matter how tough times get.
PACDC’s members like the Southwest Development Corporation represent the best Philadelphia has to offer in times of crisis. Over the last two months, they have leaped to action providing food, stable housing, technology access, help with applying for assistance programs for those affected by the crisis, mental and physical health programs, and ongoing resident engagement to keep the community connected.
Philadelphia will get through the COVID-19 crisis because PACDC members and other nonprofits are doing this work every day, in good times and during catastrophes. PACDC looks forward to working with them, our elected officials, and philanthropists to push even harder for the changes needed to create a more equitable Philadelphia.