Community Legal Services

Strategies for Preserving Section 8 Project-Based Housing in Philadelphia

Posted on July 10, 2017

Danger of the Opt-Out: Strategies for Preserving Section 8 Project-Based Housing in Philadelphia

Community Legal Services calls for action to preserve affordable housing for low-income tenants.

A report detailing affordable housing at risk of being lost due to owner opt-out was released by the Justice Lab clinic at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University Beasley School of Law and Community Legal Services (CLS). In response to the report, CLS is calling on the Department of Housing and Urban Development, City of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Housing Authority to take action to protect affordable housing for low-income tenants in the City.

This report, based on the Justice Lab’s analysis of subsidized, project-based housing properties at risk of owner opt-out, where those units will no longer be affordable, finds that over 9,000 units of affordable housing are at risk of loss in the next 20 years. This loss of housing has a distinct racial impact, where 63% of African-Americans live in project-based housing compared with 44% of the city’s population, and where African-Americans are disproportionately more likely to carry severe housing cost burdens in the city.

According to the report:

  • Over 9,000 units of affordable housing may be lost in the next 20 years across 86 Section 8 project based properties
  • 18 of those properties are in gentrifying census tracts, which are at greater risk of opt-out due to changing neighborhood demographics. Of the 21 properties with contracts expiring by 2020, six are located in a gentrifying tract.
  • A majority of affordable units are at higher risk of opt-out due to the owner’s for-profit status – a profit-motivated owner is more likely to opt-out when they are able to obtain higher rents on the private market.

https://clsphila.org/news/danger-opt-out-strategies-preserving-section-8-project-based-housing-philadelphia


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