A healthy home is the best medicine
A healthy home is the best medicine. That’s the growing belief of many health care providers, who are working with organizations like NKCDC to eliminate household hazards like lead, mold, pests, or poor air quality, which are leading causes of chronic disease.
In 2013-2014, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health partnered with St. Christopher’s Hospital to remove asthma triggers from homes at an average cost of $3,500 per home. It found that hospitalizations dropped 70% within six months and school absences were cut in half.
Home repairs also preserve affordable housing and prevent families from being displaced. In a 2009 review of home repair programs run by the City of Philadelphia, Karen Black wrote: “Public investment of $6,911 under the Basic Systems Repair Program can in many cases prevent residential abandonment and keep workforce housing viable. The cost to the City of not repairing these occupied homes is up to six times greater.”
Rebuilding Together in Kensington
In 2017, NKCDC and Rebuilding Together Philadelphia kicked off a multi-year partnership to bring healthy home repairs to Kensington. Professional contractors and volunteers completed an average of $15,000 of repairs on 33 homes on Somerset Street in the first year.
In 2018, we repaired 25 houses near Amber and Auburn Streets, and in 2019 NKCDC began its third year with Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, repairing 25 more homes around East Cambria Street. Each year kicked off with a “Block Build” event that included more than 200 neighbors, volunteers and professionals.
Other Repair Programs
The City of Philadelphia runs several repair programs. Until recently they had long wait lists, but now repairs are being completed in less than a year.
- Basic Systems Repair Program provides free repairs to correct electrical, plumbing, heating, structural and roofing emergencies in eligible owner-occupied homes in Philadelphia.
- Weatherization Assistance Program provides free weatherization and energy efficiency improvements to owner-occupied houses and tenant-occupied rental units located in the Philadelphia. Eligibility requirements apply.
- Adaptive Modifications Program is designed to help individuals with permanent physical disabilities live more independently in their homes. It provides free adaptations to a house or an apartment, allowing easier access to and mobility within the home.
- Senior Housing Assistance Repair Program (SHARP) is a minor home repair program provided by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging for Philadelphia homeowners ages 60 and older.
In addition, Restore, Repair, Renew is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority to help Philadelphia homeowners access low-interest loans to invest in their properties. Loans can fun a range of home repairs.
Request a Housing Appointment
Many repair programs require you to own your home, be listed on the deed, and be in good shape with your property taxes. Some also have income or credit score requirements. NKCDC housing advisors can help.