Penn Home Ownership Services (PHOS) has extended the boundary of its Forgivable Loan Program to include a wider section of West Philadelphia, as well as a portion of the neighborhood near the South Bank.
The Forgivable Loan Program offers loans up to $7,500 to eligible employees to cover items such as closing costs, down payment, or interior and/or exterior home improvements.
After researching the locations of Penn faculty and staff home purchases, PHOS extended the boundaries of the program to the east side of 56th Street, from Market Street to Paschall Avenue. The northern boundary is Haverford Avenue, changing to Market at 44th. The eastern boundary is the Schuylkill River.
The new boundary for the forgivable loans also includes the neighborhood across the street from the South Bank.
"We know there are faculty, staff, as well as hospital employees who are interested in living in that area but who were not able to participate," says David Valentine, executive director of Business Services. "This change will allow them to take advantage of the program.”
The expanded borders also offer a more extensive range of housing options for Penn employees who want to live close to campus.
Since in 1998, PHOS has helped bring faculty and staff into the surrounding community, with some families drawn to West Philadelphia by the Penn Alexander School. Some homes in the area now sell for more than $500,000. Nicole Hudson-Andrews, manager of PHOS, says the average price for a house in the newly added area from 52nd Street to 56th Street is about $100,000.
The newly expanded boundary also encompasses the catchment areas of three schools that receive support from Penn’s Graduate School of Education and the Netter Center: Lea Elementary, Huey Elementary, and Comegys Community School.
“We want to offer a range of housing options to better accommodate all people who are interested in participating in the program,” says Hudson-Andrews.
PHOS also partners with lenders to offer mortgage-financing options with discounted closing costs for Penn employees purchasing and financing homes in the boundary area.