May 21, 2015 |
FOR ALL THE bluster, blather and bad blood the only two contested district City Council primary races generated, the results ended up just like the eight uncontested district races. The winners and still future incumbents are: 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and 7th District Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Last night's victories all but guarantee that Johnson and Sanchez will be re-elected in November because neither has an opponent in the general election. In the 2nd District, which includes Point Breeze and parts of Center City, South and Southwest Philly, Johnson, 41, held off a spirited challenge from self-financed businessman Ori Feibush, 31. The rivals clashed over just about everything, especially development, with Feibush embracing the word "gentrification" and all that it entails, including advocating that the city sell off its vacant lots to developers.
May 5, 2015 |
Forty years after the landmark Mount Laurel I decision was handed down by the New Jersey State Supreme Court, the original team of trial lawyers who argued that the poor were being denied affordable housing in the suburbs will gather Tuesday for a panel discussion at the historic Olde Burlington County courthouse. The event, part of Law Day activities sponsored by the Burlington County Vicinage and Bar Association, is open to the public. The panel will be composed of Peter J. O'Connor, Carl S. Bisgaier, and Kenneth E. Meiser, the Camden Legal Regional Services lawyers who filed the class-action litigation on behalf of Ethel Lawrence and members of low- and moderate-income families who were unable to find affordable housing in the Burlington County township.
April 25, 2015 |
Looking for more money for affordable housing, a coalition of Philadelphia groups wants to tax properties if they are flipped by developers less than two years after they were purchased. The proposal, which its proponents acknowledge has a long road to travel, could contribute up to $12 million annually to the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, double the amount there already. This "antispeculation tax," as envisioned by the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, would raise the real estate transfer tax by 1.5 percent on houses resold less than two years after purchase.
April 23, 2015 |
WHAT SHOULD Philadelphia do to locate deadbeat owners of vacant houses when so many people are in need of housing? Mayoral candidate T. Milton Street said he wouldn't bother looking for missing owners. "I'd move somebody in those houses and let the owners find me," said the former state senator and onetime squatter-movement leader. "I've done it. It works. " It was a response to one question asked near the end of a mayoral candidates forum sponsored by the Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement at the Crystal Tea Room yesterday.
April 11, 2015 |
An appeals panel on Thursday ruled that the Christie administration could not seize millions of dollars from towns that was intended for the construction of housing for low- and moderate-income residents. Gov. Christie previously attempted to use those funds to help balance the state budget. The three-judge panel's decision comes a month after the state Supreme Court declared the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) "moribund" and transferred its regulatory authority to designated trial judges.
March 25, 2015 |
Richard E. Constable III, a top cabinet official in the Christie administration who oversaw the state's Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts and other high-profile programs, is resigning to take a job in the private sector. "Rich has served me extraordinarily well for more than a decade, and I appreciate his service to this state and the country," Gov. Christie said in a statement Monday. As commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, Constable "took on some of the most complex issues impacting New Jerseyans, from controlling local property taxes to Sandy recovery," Christie said.
March 12, 2015 |
The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday said Gov. Christie's "moribund" affordable-housing agency had failed to do its job, and effectively transferred the agency's regulatory authority to lower courts. The ruling brought something of a resolution to a decade of litigation over the agency's proposed rules to determine municipalities' housing obligations for low- and moderate-income residents. For years, developers, cities and towns, environmentalists, and the state have wrestled with how to create affordable housing in a state where hundreds of thousands of residents struggle to pay the rent.
March 2, 2015 |
Nora Lichtash has lived in Germantown for more than 40 years. Now she is pitching a development project there for affordable housing that would allow renters to convert their units into equity and home ownership. Lichtash's vehicle is a nonprofit known as the Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCRP). WCRP has operated in Philadelphia since 1987, and Lichtash has been director since 1990. In that time, the nonprofit has developed 250 affordable townhouses and apartments in all five counties of the region, investing about $4 million to date.
February 10, 2015 |
As the New Jersey Supreme Court considers whether to intervene in the Christie administration's regulation of affordable housing, the case has brought into focus a debate over the need for such housing among low- and moderate-income residents. Affordable-housing advocates say the state's estimates - included in proposed regulations that were ultimately rejected in October - lowballed true demand and violated the Supreme Court's landmark 1975 Mount Laurel decision that established municipalities' constitutional obligation to provide their fair share of the region's housing needs.
January 27, 2015 |
The Lansdale project may still be a year from completion, but people in upper Montgomery County and across the state are already bubbling about what may be its most striking and unusual feature: The front door. When North Penn Commons is finished, the door will be the lone entranceway for seemingly disparate groups: members exercising at the local YMCA, seniors living in affordable housing, and visitors to a soup kitchen, Manna on Main Street. The design is intentional, part of a bid to reach across age and economic barriers to integrate struggling older people into the community.