The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) doesn't just focus on providing housing for the city's lowest-income residents, it also focuses on creating a healthy environment.
Its newest project, Warnock Village, lives up to that mission and more—it's the PHA's greenest development.
The first phase of Warnock Village opened in October and features 50 townhomes for families earning less than 50 percent of the area median income.
The second phase, a three-story building with 45 affordable units for seniors, is expected to open toward the beginning of the year. And construction has started on the PHA's second adult day center, which is expected to be finished in the spring and to submit licensing applications in the summer or fall, so that seniors who want to age in place will have closer services.
PHA Executive Director Carl Greene says Warnock Village is all about sustainability—for the buildings, the residents, and the neighborhood.
Providing sustainable health with sustainable housing for both residents and the community is one of the PHA's biggest challenges. “We want our residents to have immediate access,” Greene says.
Greene says the adult day center, which is funded through the state's Medicaid program, will help the residents at the development and the surrounding community reinvest in their vitality and help them to engage in personal care systems like exercise, hygiene, and food preparation to sustain themselves.
The neighborhood where the development was built was previously void of public housing and a wasteland of abandoned rowhouses. The PHA acquired the vacant land and a building that was still occupied. “We took on that challenge to bring the neighborhood back,” Greene says.
Warnock Village features Energy Star appliances, water-saving devices and fixtures, low-VOC materials, as well as a green rooftop on top of the seniors building that is a usable park and will help to decrease stormwater runoff and help cool the building in the summer while retaining heat in the winter. “We think this will enhance the quality of life for our senior citizens,” says Greene. “The residents can go out and sit on the roof.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said at the grand opening of phase one, “Not only are we providing new homes to individuals and families in North Philadelphia, we are making these units as energy efficient as possible so that residents' energy bills are lower, and so that we continue our progress, outlined in Greenworks Philadelphia, toward becoming the No. 1 green city in the United States.”
The $21.6 million first phase was financed with $8.5 million in public housing capital funds, $2.3 million in Moving to Work funds, and $10.7 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity from PNC. It also is the first multi-unit, single-family development in Philadelphia to have full sprinkler systems in the homes as part of a Philadelphia Fire Department pilot project.
The $27.2 million second phase was financed with $6.9 million in public housing capital funds, $1.3 million in Moving to Work funds, $10.3 million in PHA program income, and $8.7 million in LIHTC equity from PNC.