Located on a previously vacant lot, the 24-unit Tioga Family Center is serving adults recovering from addiction and helping bring new life to a north Philadelphia neighborhood.
Courtesy Cecil Baker + Partners Located on a previously vacant lot, the 24-unit Tioga Family Center is serving adults recovering from addiction and helping bring new life to a north Philadelphia neighborhood.

Gaudenzia, a nonprofit organization focused on addiction recovery services, is providing 24 units of permanent supportive housing for adults, primarily women, recovering from addiction and their families in Philadelphia.

Tioga Family Center, which was completed at the end of October and expected to be fully leased by the end of this month, provides substance-free, affordable housing and on-site services aimed at households transitioning from treatment to independent living.

“This assists women with treatment in their recovery process and gives them a helping hand in that process and for the long term,” says David Slinger, director of operations at Gaudenzia.

Gaudenzia primarily operates drug and alcohol treatment centers and shelters. However, finding that a lack of stable housing has been a determinant factor in relapses for its clients, especially for women, it moved into the permanent housing space. Next door to the development is another 22 units of affordable housing at Tioga Arms, and on the other side is a treatment facility.

“It’s a continuum of care in that women can come in at the beginning of their recovery period when they’re really just trying to get themselves clean and sober and move through Gaudenzia’s programs in that neighborhood,” says Emily Perschetz, a project manager with Stone Sherick Consulting Group, the development consultant on the project.

Cecil Baker + Partners designed Tioga Family Center with families in mind. All units are furnished, with accent paint colors on the walls and warm and friendly finishes.

Amenities include play equipment for both younger and school-age children as well as a half-sized basketball court. The development also has a community room with a kitchen, a dedicated child-care space, and three classrooms that overlook the outdoor green space.

“Gaudenzia has an amazing environment to really help the residents get on their feet, and they’ve had great success,” says Nancy Bastian, a partner at Cecil Baker + Partners. “I love when housing can be proven to be so critical to people. Having a safe environment to live in just means the world.”

The development also is constructed with rigorous energy-efficiency standards. It complies with the requirements of Enterprise Green Communities as well for a lowered Home Energy Rating System Index Score. The building is highly insulated with triple-glazed windows, energy-recovery units in each of the apartments, and LED light fixtures.

“The hope is that tenant’s utility bills will be very low and keep apartments quite comfortable with very little heating and cooling,” says Bastian. “That should be a really nice benefit for the residents.”

The units serve residents earning less than 60% of the area median income. In addition, the Philadelphia Housing Authority provided vouchers for all 24 units.

The $10.1 million development was financed primarily with low-income housing tax credits allocated by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and equity provided by National Equity Fund. Additional financing included permanent debt from Community Lenders; Affordable Housing Program funds from the Federal Home Loan Banks of Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh through member banks Citizens, M&T, and PNC; and money from The Reinvestment Fund, the Housing Opportunities Program Philadelphia, and private foundations.