The Mt Vernon Manor Board of Directors was awarded a 2010 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant to address the revitalization of Mt Vernon Manor Apartments in the context of a comprehensive Transformation Plan for the Mantua community. This is one of 17 grants awarded nationwide by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Obama administration’s new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and it was the only application awarded in 2010 in the State of Pennsylvania.
Choice Neighborhoods is HUD’s planned successor to HOPE VI, a program that transformed public housing across the nation for close to twenty years. The goal of the new program is to support a comprehensive approach to revitalization “linking housing with a mix of incomes and uses with quality education, public transportation, good jobs, and safe streets,” according to Secretary Shaun Donovan in his announcement of the awards.
“I am pleased that HUD has recognized the importance of the Mantua community and the Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments in Philadelphia. This Choice Neighborhoods grant affirms my belief in the Mantua community and I look forward to working with Mantua residents and surrounding stakeholders in the ongoing efforts to rebuild and revitalize this historic neighborhood which is in close proximity to our business districts, universities, and anchor institutions” said Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.
Drexel University is a partner committing faculty and administrative expertise to the planning process, while The Philadelphia Foundation and One Economy Corporation have committed resources to this initiative. The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia has also allocated $3.7 million from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding to the rehabilitation of Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments.
Congressman Chaka Fattah (D‐PA) said, “Selection of the Mantua community and Mt. Vernon Manor to receive a grant from HUD’s new Neighborhood Initiative is the right choice at the right time. As a House appropriator, I’ve been a supporter of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Transforming our communities is not only a good choice, it’s a smart choice. Improving our housing stock is crucial to bringing back and stabilizing areas like Mantua.”
Mt Vernon Manor Apartments
Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments is the centerpiece of the Choice Planning grant and comprises 125 units of affordable housing in nine separate buildings located on the eastern section of Mantua, around 33rd and Wallace streets. (link to map or aerial). It was built in 1978 by Mt Vernon Manor Inc, a non-profit community based organization. (will be in a separate box, with images)
Following HUD’s vision for Choice Neighborhoods, the Mount Vernon Manor Board of Directors is engaging the community in a broad visioning and planning effort to promote the revitalization of Mantua into a neighborhood of opportunity for children and adults. The planning process will focus on coordinated efforts addressing housing needs with improved access to education, health, services and a safe environment that ensures positive outcomes for all residents.
“Mt. Vernon Manor and Mantua are ideal candidates in Pennsylvania for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative,” said State Sen. Vincent Hughes, whose 7th District includes Mantua. “There is a need to provide a framework for investment in Mantua and I am encouraged that this provides an effective path to achieve this”.
Once the plan is complete, Mt. Vernon Manor, Inc and the City of Philadelphia will be able to apply for up to $30 million towards the construction of new housing, rehabilitation of existing housing, and to support community services, all within Mantua.
This opportunity comes at an important time for Philadelphia, as the 2010 Census reports the City’s population growing for the first time in fifty years, giving Philadelphia’s communities reason to plan for future growth and investment.