Philadelphia’s Neighborhoods: Five key takeaways

Philadelphia needs thriving neighborhoods. It needs residents who can save and build wealth and buy a home they can pass on to their children.

As Cherelle Parker said during our first Philadelphia’s Neighborhoods event last month, we need the tools to “help put people on the path to self-sufficiency so that they can have the dignity of knowing what it’s like to own.”

That includes people like Jiciana, a Clarifi client and first-time homebuyer who used a fixed, low-interest loan through the Restore Repair Renew program to preserve and make needed repairs on the southwest Philadelphia home that has been in her family since 1969.

Ms. Parker and Jiciana, both lifelong Philadelphians and homeowners, spoke at the event, showing firsthand the power of homeownership and financial literacy – and how they lead to resilient communities.

From left: Clarifi board member Dana Brown, Clarifi client Jiciana Knight, Philadelphia’s Democratic nominee for Mayor Cherelle Parker, Clarifi’s Executive Director Steve Gardner, and Alisa Macksey, Vice President of Mission, Diversity, and Inclusion at La Salle University.

The evening was packed to the gills with data on the state of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Here are five takeaways from that evening:

  1. Philadelphia’s poverty rate is dropping.
    • The rate of Philadelphians experiencing poverty has steadily declined over the past decade, from 26 percent in 2014 to 21.7 percent in 2022.
  2. Still, more than half of Philadelphia renters are cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
    • This can leave families with less financial resilience; fewer opportunities to save money, budget for emergencies and pay down credit card debt and loans.
  3. Philly home prices have jumped since the pandemic.
    • The median sales price for a Philadelphia home was $175,000 in 2019. As of August 2023, the median price is $259,900, a 48 percent increase in just five years.
  4. Homeownership remains the largest source of wealth among families.
    • A path to homeownership should be accessible to everyone, regardless of income or zip code. It contributes significantly to a family’s ability to build wealth and pass it down to the next generation.  This is what ensures Philadelphia’s neighborhoods remain sustainable, resilient and thriving.
  5. Philadelphia has come a long way with housing resources.
    • From first-time homebuyer grants to low-interest home repair loans, Philadelphia is paving the way for sustainable, long-term homeownership. That includes our own organization. Here are just some of the programs and services Clarifi offers to clients
    • These are just some of programs we have recommended, referred, and helped clients apply for:
      • Philly First Home
      • PHFA’s K-Fit & K-Flex with K-Fit
      • Turn The Key
      • Whole Home Repair Program
      • Homeowner Assistance Program (PA HAP)

We want to thank Cherelle Parker for speaking at our event. Her passion for thriving neighborhoods, financially empowered residents and programs like Restore Repair Renew, which she helped create, knows no bounds.

We are also grateful to Mitchell Little for speaking about our work and continued partnership with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.

Finally, thank you to Ira Goldstein of Reinvestment Fund for sharing this data at the event! You can find the full presentation here.