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Archdiocese of Philadelphia breaks ground on new affordable housing project


Archbishop Nelson Perez | Facebook | Fair Use

J-P Mauro - published on 08/16/20

New housing comes as the need grows dire, but one expert warns that more such projects are needed in Philadelphia.

A construction project is underway in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that will see new housing installed adjacent to the National Shrine of St. Rita. Once completed, the building will cater to income-eligible adults aged 62 and older, with rent set to scale to available resources of tenants. The building will also host pilgrims visiting the National Shrine.

Catholic Philly reports the August 10 groundbreaking ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Nelson Pérez, who gave a blessing that called the project a “beacon of hope” in South Philadelphia. The five-story building will be called St. Rita’s Place, and it will include the Cascia Center, a 7,500-square-foot multipurpose space to be used for events and services run by St. Rita’s.

The complex has been in the works for nearly a decade, but now as a new housing crisis has emerged from the world pandemic, these apartments are more important than ever.

A subsequent report from Catholic Philly notes that St. Rita’s Place will offer 46 apartments for seniors. They cite the price of the new building at $18.3 million, which will be covered by a $12 million tax credit from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, with more coming from several banks, the National Housing Trust Funds, and private investors. The National Shrine of St. Rita’s was said to have donated $1.4 million towards the cost of construction.

Gregory Heller, senior vice president of community investment at the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, hailed the groundbreaking, but he also suggested that this is only a start to the efforts that Philadelphia needs to commit to in order to bring the people more affordable housing. He told Catholic Philly:

“Just do the math,” said Heller. “You need 1,400 more of these projects to fill that need.”

Visit Catholic Philly to watch the groundbreaking ceremony and to learn all the details.

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