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Generation Change Philly: The Home Maker – The Philadelphia Citizen

There’s no denying that Philly has an affordable housing problem.

Between 2008 and 2016, Philly lost 13,000 lower-cost housing units, per data from the City’s Housing Action Plan. The city’s recent spate of construction…….

There’s no denying that Philly has an affordable housing problem.

Between 2008 and 2016, Philly lost 13,000 lower-cost housing units, per data from the City’s Housing Action Plan. The city’s recent spate of construction and development has largely left out low-income residents. According to the report, as affordable housing — defined as costing no more than 30 percent of a resident’s income — declined, 6,000 higher-end units were built over the same period.

In Philly, the affordable housing crisis is worsened not just by a dearth of stock but also by median costs: More than half of the city’s renters and about 40 percent of residents as a whole spend more than 30 percent on housing costs.

In the midst of this crisis, Mohamed “Mo” Rushdy has emerged as an unlikely hero. The Egypt-born, former Kuwait Olympic Stadium engineer-turned Toll Brothers wunderkind began building workforce housing — homes priced for middle-income citizens — when he co-founded the real estate development firm Riverwards Group with Lawrence “Larry” McKnight in 2009.

Now, he’s turned his attention to the city’s affordable housing crisis as both the vice president of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia, and chair of the board of directors for the newly created Philadelphia Accelerator Fund (PAF), a public-private partnership formed to provide flexible loans to Black and Brown developers so that they can build affordable housing.

Over the next five years, PAF plans to raise more than $100 million with the intention of constructing 6,000 affordable housing units. Currently, the fund is trying to raise between $10 to $15 million by the end of the year, with the goal of giving their first loans out in early 2023. 

“We have a city that sits on a wealth of vacant public land of mostly infill lots that can get two-story, single family, three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes with backyards on them,” says Rushdy.

“My vision is getting 10,000 families in single-family, two-story, three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes over the next eight years costing $600 to $1,300 per month in total monthly housing cost for a single family — an opportunity that would create $200,000 to $250,000 in wealth for each of these 10,000 families,” Rushdy says.

For his work in building better places for all Philadelphians to live and building pathways for under-represented developers to thrive, Rushdy is a Generation Change Philly fellow.

From Cairo to GradHo
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Source: https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/generation-change-philly-the-home-maker/

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