ABOVE PHOTO: This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows a human T cell, in blue, under attack by HIV, in yellow, the virus that causes AIDS. The virus specifically targets T cells, which play a critical role in the body’s immune response against invaders like bacteria and viruses. Colors were added by the source. Some researchers believe COVID-19 has derailed the fight against HIV, siphoning away health workers and other resources and setting back a U.S. campaign to decimate the AIDS epidemic by 2030. (Seth Pincus, Elizabeth Fischer, Austin Athman/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH via AP)
20 families now home at non-profit’s latest affordable housing community.
On Tuesday, June 8, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Housing Authority will celebrate the completion of Oxford Green, a 20-unit affordable home community in the Sharswood neighborhood of North Philadelphia. The homes were purchased by families who completed Habitat’s Homeownership Program.
“The homes at Oxford Green will provide a safe, warm, and dry place to live for years to come,” said Corinne O’Connell, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia CEO. “We are proud to work alongside these homeowners who have faced countless challenges over the past year to make this day possible. We also know that we cannot do this work alone, and are fortunate to have partners like the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which shares our vision of a city where everyone has a decent place to live.”
Habitat broke ground on the homes in May 2019 and was forced to pause during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Now, these 20 homes stand as an example of what can be accomplished when organizations come together in pursuit of a shared goal.
”Sharswood is a neighborhood that demonstrates what Philadelphia truly can be – an inclusive community where residents work with public and private partners to improve life for everyone, especially the children,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority. “We deeply appreciate Habitat’s efforts to support the transformation of Sharswood to a Choice Neighborhood. Oxford Green has brought in new homeowners who, having changed the trajectory of their own lives, will strengthen the roots in this community and play a vital role in its revitalization.”
Habitat is a partner in the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s broader Sharswood Blumberg Neighborhood Transformation Plan, and PHA committed $3.5M to fund Oxford Green.
“City Council is proud to support Habitat for Humanity as it makes these homes available to Philadelphians who’ve completed the Habitat program,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke, whose 5th Council district includes the Sharswood community. “Habitat has been investing in people for a very long time, and giving them the chance that everyone seeks – to own their own home. This is a great day for North Philadelphia.
Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-03) said the completion of Oxford Green is a milestone. “We have been working to revitalize Sharswood for years, and provide it with the affordable housing, essential businesses, and jobs that every community needs to flourish,” he said. “I was born nearby, near 16th and Seybert streets, so this is personal to me. With the completion of Oxford Green, the new commercial center, and the other housing sites currently under construction, Sharswood is emerging as place where Philadelphians reimagine their futures.”
Sharswood is also the pilot neighborhood for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Revitalization work. In addition to these 20 new homes, Habitat has also repaired homes alongside local homeowners and helped to equip Sharswood residents with the tools they need to support and advocate for their community.
The Oxford Green homes boast new-to-Habitat amenities including flexible living space on the first floor to promote aging-in-place, and green roofs for storm water management. ISA designed the homes.
As part of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s programs, homeowners become vested in their property by completing 350 hours of sweat equity. The new homeowners are also required to demonstrate a housing need and that they have the financial wellbeing to repay an affordable mortgage.