Philly’s new Housing Preservation Loan Program: What to know (1/19/2018)

Source: Curbed Philly
Byline: Melissa Romero
Date: 1/19/2018

Relief may be on the way for Philly homeowners who need to make repairs on their homes but can’t afford to do so. This summer the city and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority are planning to launch a new home repair program for low-, moderate-, and middle-income homeowners that could offer as much as $25,000.

An Inquirer report revealed that the city plans to put $40 million toward the Housing Preservation Loan Program (HPLP). These funds are part of the $100 million raised from the city’s 0.1 percent hike in the real estate transfer tax.

The rest of those funds have gone toward the city’s already-existing free Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) programs: The Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP), Adaptive Modifications Program (AMP), and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). That’s allowed the city to address the three- to five-year waiting list for these home repair assistance programs.

Ahead of the HPLP’s launch later this year, here is what we know so far about the new home repair loan.

What is the Housing Preservation Loan Program?

The HPLP is a new initiative spearheaded by the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Housing Authority that is geared toward low-, moderate-, and middle-income homeowners in Philly who need loans to make home repairs.

Why did the city create this loan program?

Philly has a very old housing stock; one report found that the median age of Philly homes is 82, the oldest in the nation. That means homeowners have to deal with a lot of issues, from leaky roofs to drafty windows to poor plumbing.

But home repairs are expensive, and many Philly homeowners can’t afford them. The PRA notes that about three out of five Philadelphians who applied for repair loans between 2012 and 2014 were denied. That’s twice the national average.

How do you qualify for the loan?

  1. You must be a homeowner and show proof of ownership.
  2. The home must be your primary residence.
  3. You cannot have any outstanding liens or judgements against the property.
  4. Your credit score must be 580 or higher.
  5. You can have a first mortgage on your home.

Tell me more about the loans.

They can be used for home repairs that range from “leaky roofs to installing wheelchair ramps,” according to the Inquirer report. The loans will be issued in amounts ranging from $2,500 to $24,999. The interest rate will be 3 percent and the term length will be 10 years.

Is it available now?

Not quite. The PRA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for financial institutions who want to issue the loans, and those are due by Friday, January 26. The loan program’s target launch date is this summer. Stay tuned!