Mission First Housing Group

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Statement Regarding Our Sale of 4537 Osage Avenue (The Arvilla)

by Mission First Housing

Mission First Housing Group is selling a building at 4537 Osage Avenue, the Arvilla, which we have owned and operated as affordable housing for more than 20 years. The costs to modernize and preserve affordable housing in this building are higher than Mission First can cover with its limited resources and current outside funding. We are working closely with all of the Arvilla’s residents to provide comprehensive relocation assistance—including covering all moving expenses and assuring that all residents secure apartments in neighborhoods of their choice that are appropriate to their economic situations. Mission First will use the proceeds of this sale to create more affordable housing, preserve critical affordable housing assets, and serve more people in need.

Affordable housing preservation is a cornerstone of Mission First’s work. We have preserved nearly 450 affordable apartments since 2011 across Philadelphia, with another 115 currently in construction and over 200 more in our preservation pipeline.

We understand that affordable housing is important to the West Philadelphia community. We have owned and operated affordable housing in the community for almost 25 years. We are more committed than ever to working with the Spruce Hill Community Association and its neighbors to explore opportunities to bring new affordable housing to the neighborhood.


4537 OSAGE: THE FACTS

What is happening?
Mission First is selling a 16-unit apartment building at 4537 Osage Avenue.

Why?
The organization has determined that the cost of modernizing and preserving affordable housing in this building are higher than it can cover with its limited resources and current outside funding.

Where are the sale proceeds going?
Mission First will use these resources to create more affordable housing, preserve critical affordable housing assets and serve more people in need in Philadelphia.

Is anyone being evicted or “kicked out” due to the sale?
Mission First is working closely with all residents to provide comprehensive relocation assistance – including covering all moving expenses and assuring that all residents secure apartments in neighborhoods of their choice that are appropriate to their economic situations.

Did Mission First want to expand affordable housing in Spruce Hill?
In 2014 and 2015, we worked very closely with the Spruce Hill Community Association to develop a 24-unit affordable building at 46th and Spruce. The financing would also have allowed us to pay the renovation cost of Osage. A neighbor threatened to tie us up in litigation for years. We were forced to sell 46th and Spruce, thus eliminating the path to the renovation of Osage.


MISSION FIRST’S TRACK RECORD ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING PRESERVATION

Mission First is a nonprofit organization that has been based in Philadelphia for 30 years, founded to serve the vulnerable. We provide affordable apartments for more than 1,850 households throughout Philadelphia, including more than 1,000 formerly homeless individuals. Many of these households include individuals living with serious mental illness.

Among nonprofit developers in city and state, Mission First has one of the strongest track records in preservation, especially in difficult projects. As an example, in fall 2015, the city turned to Mission First to take on the Mid-City Y, 60 units of supportive housing for the homeless, after every other developer passed.

Mission First takes seriously its role in preserving and expanding affordable housing in all neighborhoods in the city. Since 2011, we have preserved over 440 units in Philadelphia and are currently rehabilitating 115 units in Haddington, Rittenhouse, Fishtown, Spruce Hill, Washington Square West, North Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia and Parkside.

Our preservation efforts in the city and state are increasing to meet the need. In the next year and a half, Mission First expects to begin preservation work on 202 more affordable apartments in Philadelphia, and has plans to begin work on preserving over 200 units in other parts of Pennsylvania.

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