Frequently Asked Questions About SteelTown Village

How will SteelTown Village be funded?

Total investment of the development is $12.6 million. An application to PHFA for Low Income Housing Tax Credits in the amount of $1,038,000 has been submitted. Private funding in the form of grants and loans will account for the remaining funds needed. To date, both Chester County and the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation have made financial commitments to SteelTown Village.

Will SteelTown Village pay taxes?

Yes, SteelTown Village will pay property taxes.

Who is the developer of this project?

Petra Community Housing will be the sole developer of this project. They are an experienced non-profit developer located in neighboring Spring City. Petra Community Housing has its roots in Phoenixille having been founded by Don Coppedge and the Phoenixville Area Council of Churches and was once known as Phoenixville Homes. Since their inception in 1995 they have helped more than 30 families become first time home buyers. They have also successfully completed the renovation of three vacant factories into rental apartments for the elderly and individuals with a disability. Today they manage those units which include 118 units for the elderly and 19 units for the disabled. The most recent project was the renovation of a single family home into two units of family housing in the borough of Schwenksville.

Who will manage the development?

Petra Community Housing will partner with NDC Real Estate Management to manage SteelTown Village and to assure compliance with all Tax Credit compliance. The staff will include a Property Manager, Resident Service Coordinator and Maintenance Tech and will be onsite 40 hours per week.

How much parking will be created?

More than the borough required parking spaces will be created. A minimum 79 off street spaces and 27 on street spaces will be created. The onsite parking will be for residents only but the on street parking will be for residents and public use.

Is there a Need for Affordable Workforce Housing in Phoenixville?

Phoenixville is growing at an accelerated rate. New housing developments are springing up in the borough and the surrounding townships. The Borough has recently seen the opening of Phoenix Village and Riverworks. The rental rates for both of these developments begin at $1,000 for a studio to over $3,000 for a 3 bedroom apartment. The average resident of Phoenixville is being forced to pay a greater percent of their income on housing or move out of the area. People who serve food in the downtown restaurants increasingly find it difficult to afford this cost of living and to call Phoenixville their home. SteelTown Village is a housing development geared toward working families, military service veterans, persons with disabilities, seniors and individuals, providing quality housing at affordable rates.

Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Housing

How will affordable housing affect property values?

Repeated research has shown that affordable housing has no negative impact on the price or frequency of sales of neighboring homes. A recent study of four very-low-income family housing developments in suburban Chicago – revealed that affordable housing can have a positive impact on surrounding property values. A Wisconsin study of housing constructed under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program concluded that property values surrounding these developments rose, even in relatively affluent areas. In addition, mixed income buildings can boost the residential real estate market in many areas by replacing the blighted buildings or vacant land. Numerous studies over time from around the country support the general notion that affordable housing has no negative impact on surrounding property values – especially if it is thoroughly integrated into the neighborhood

Doesn’t an affordable rental project put a burden on the local schools and roads?

According to the US Census Bureau, rental apartments have fewer children per unit on averge than owner-occupied, single-family housing; rental apartments contain a lower percent of units with one or more school aged children; and rental units have a lower average number of motor vehicles per unit. A Massachusetts study found that multi-family housing developments did not increase school costs. Although not all multi-family rental units are affordable, they make up the bulk of affordable housing.

Providing affordable housing helps reduce the number of cars on the road by allowing working people to live near their jobs. In addition, studies show that affordable housing residents have fewer cars and drive less often than residents of market-rate homes.

Will children living in affordable housing reduce the quality of local schools by hurting standardized test scores?

Without affordable housing, many families are forced to move frequently, and their children are unable to remain in the same school for long. A Minneapolis study found that children whose families moved during the course of the school year attended school less often and scored significantly lower on standardized tests than those who stayed in one place. Research on Chicago-area residents reveals that students forced to move around are much more prone to drop out of school. Affordable housing minimized such disruptions to children’s’ education.

Economic integration of neighborhoods is necessary to create regional school systems in which all schools – not just a few – are excellent. Montgomery County, Maryland, has one of the most extensive ordinances setting aside affordable units in any new residential development, and consequently its population is economically integrated. The county also has one of the nation’s best school systems, proving that affordable housing may even contribute to school quality.

Won’t affordable housing increase crime in the community and bring in undesirable tenants?

Affordable housing can help a community maintain a stable population by making it easier to retain people who already live and work there. There is no evidence that affordable housing brings crime to a neighborhood. In fact, affordable housing, as a tool of economic development, can often help to lower crime rates. The National Crime Prevention Council calls for the construction of affordable housing to reduce crime because neighborhood cohesion and economic stability are enhanced in areas where the continuing supply of dispersed, affordable housing is assured.

Whether a development will be an asset or a detriment to a community more often turns on basic management practices: careful screening, prudent security measures and regular upkeep. Most affordable housing residents are seeking safe and decent housing that will allow them to live self-sufficient lives in a good community.

Isn’t affordable housing just another government welfare hand-out?

Wealthy homeowners benefit the most from federal housing subsidies. They receive a federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest paid, which is the largest housing subsidy program in the U.S., and a similar deduction for property taxes paid. In 2003, these subsidies cost the federal government $87.8 billion, much of which went to the wealthiest 10% of U.S. taxpayers. Meanwhile, the federal government spent less than half as much ($41.5 billion) to preserve, maintain, and build affordable rental housing through the entirety of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget ($38 billion) and low-income housing tax credit program ($3.5 billion).

How is affordable housing fair, don’t only the very poor benefit?

A lack of affordable housing negatively affects employers, seniors, poor people, immigrants, entry level and service sector workers, and public sector professionals such as teachers, firefighters and police officers. It also impinges on broader quality of life issues such as the economic development of the region, traffic congestion, commute times, and air quality. In short, it affects us all., Effectively solving the affordable housing crisis does not mean addressing the needs of just the poor; it also means addressing the needs of the business community, working and middle class families, and the broader population.