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3:24 PM / Tuesday June 28, 2022

28 May 2021

PHA to provide housing for Community College of Philadelphia students who housing insecure, involved in foster care system

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May 28, 2021 Category: Local Posted by:

Students at Community College of Philadelphia who do not have a stable place to live will soon be eligible for low-cost student housing provided by the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA).

The agreement with the College would renovate and provide two buildings with dormitory-like set-ups, to house up to 16 students and common living areas. The buildings are located on North 10th and 11th Streets, less than a mile from campus.          

“We have too many talented students in Philadelphia who are unable to continue their education because they are homeless,” PHA president and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah said. “We share a mutual interest with the College in assisting these students in transitioning, through education, to self-sufficiency and permanent housing, the kind of opportunity and life all of us strive for.”

The program provides more than just a roof over students’ heads. PHA and the College will provide other support. For example, once a student moves in, the Housing Authority will work with them to establish a stability plan with the goal of establishing secure, permanent housing.

The College will provide a Campus Support Champion for students coming from the foster care system through the Fostering Caring Connections program. It will also provide academic advising services, academic–related counseling services as needed, learning lab tutoring, and on-line tutoring through Tutor.com.

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Participating students will also be able to apply for scholarships to supplement tuition as well as other emergency funds. The College’s Career Connections office will offer help with job searches, career readiness supports, and other programming.

“We are grateful to the PHA for helping us make higher education more accessible to Philadelphia’s students,” said Dr. Donald Guy Generals, the College’s president. “We have bright, highly motivated students who aren’t making it across the finish line to graduation because they suddenly find themselves without suitable housing or face financial hardship.”

According to the agreement, housing instability is defined as someone who is: staying with friends or family without a lease; squatting; living in a homeless shelter; or living in places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, and abandoned buildings. There may be other circumstances that apply as well.

PHA will manage and maintain the buildings just as it does with all properties it owns, including providing utilities and repairs. Students will pay rent based on 30 percent of their income. In no case will a student pay more than $125 a month for rent, but with their limited incomes it will typically be much less.  

Students will be referred by the College and screened for eligibility by PHA.

The program, which begins on August 1, is an example of how PHA uses its flexibility as a Moving to Work agency to design programs that meet local needs. Funding for the initiative comes from PHA’s public housing program.

“Having provided nearly $1.8 million in college scholarships over the past seven years through our PhillySEEDS nonprofit and investing in building and partially funding operations at Vaux High School, PHA has shown the priority position in which it holds education,” Jeremiah said. “This collegiate housing program is intended as yet another hand up to aspiring scholars.”

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