Casa Indiana will provide 50 new units of affordable housing to elderly persons, 62 and over, who are currently independent together with the supportive services they need in order to continue to be otherwise actively involved in community activities, socialize and remain self-sufficient for as long as possible.
Casa Indiana is a catalytic project within a larger resident-driven strategy to address the impacts of decades of deep poverty and high crime. Incorporating a number of innovative interventions on the blocks surrounding Casa Indiana and the Richmond Industrial Track, HACE has crafted a creative, partnership-rich revitalization strategy that ensures equitable livability and affordability. By targeting its efforts to key sites at a critical time, HACE builds from ongoing and recent efforts to address areas that have been identified by residents and stakeholders as the most challenging and repeat problem areas in the neighborhood.
Projected completion date – May 2020
Gurney Street Trail
The creation of a walking trail along the Conrail line was initially conceived through the Good Lands 2025 Neighborhood Planning process led by HACE. Since then, HACE has been strengthening partnerships and support with Conrail, the Managing Director’s Office, community organizations, and other City agencies to support the massive $5+ million cleaning effort that took place in summer 2017 and the eradication of the encampments in the Fairhill Neighborhood.
The Gurney Street Trail is a critical component to reclaiming the Fairhill neighborhood from the abandonment and criminal activity that has long plagued this community. The first phase of the Gurney Street Trail runs adjacent to the Conrail viaduct between B Street and A Street along Gurney Street. Additionally, the need for this trail is particularly heightened in the area, which lacks complete sidewalks/walking surfaces beyond the street in many areas.
HACE engaged Marta Sanchez, a nationally known artist inspired by traditional Mexican folk art expressions and its hybrid in contemporary culture. Her Sculptures seek to center the Conrail Train tracks as part of the memories that the current residents have of their neighborhood. The project combines the image of trains and other elements to honor the memories of the neighborhood’s residents who have been a part of this urban landscape. The sculptures also seek to honor the memory of those who have passed away from the opioid epidemic while honoring those who continue to live there.
Villas del Caribe Preservation
HACE’s first Neighborhood Strategic Plan completed in 1995, identified several vacant parcels of land and buildings in HACE’s focus area as critical for the revitalization of the of the organization’s focus neighborhoods. Phase I resulted in the development of Villas Del Caribe located at Hancock Street and Allegheny Avenue, a LIHTC development providing 81 rental units of housing for low income families and a 6,676 square feet community center.
VDC spurred the development of the Caribe Development Zone which also includes Casa Caribe, Caribe Towers, Mercy LIFE Center and the newly renovated Collazo playground; representing $100+ million in public and private investments. Other new investments include Plaza Allegheny, Family Dollar, Lawrence Court Homeownership Development and Casa Indiana now under construction. This development was the recipient of the 1998 Commerce Bank and Philadelphia Business Journal Building Excellence of the Delaware Valley Award.
There are many areas with low housing stability in the HACE neighborhood. Factors that lead to low housing stability include high rates of rental occupancy, low median housing values, concentrations of vacant buildings and lots, and high rates of housing turnover. After 22 years in operation, this development needed capital improvements to preserve these 81 rental units of affordable housing for families and to continue to stabilize this community and attract other private and public investments to benefit long-term residents.
HACE was successful in securing funding from the Division of Housing and Community Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh to make significant capital investments to replace windows, doors and the HVAC system throughout this property.