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News & Resources

Black History Month 2024

Building Homes, Creating Opportunity

February is Black History Month, and this year the BIA will take a big step toward achieving its goal to mentor a group of Black and brown real estate developers and successfully deliver affordable for-sale homes to the City of Philadelphia.

To date, affordable housing production by the private sector has been dominated by a small group of established, mostly white-owned development companies. The BIA wants to change that.

As part of its “Plan for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” the BIA said it would establish a mentoring program for minority developers, which are 100 percent Black-owned. In late 2023, we circulated a request for applicants through the Urban Developers Association (UDA) and selected nine entities, a group of 11 men and women to be the first cohort participating in the BIA-UDA Turn the Key Project.

The goal of the project is to usher these developers through the Land Bank application process, secure access to the needed capital through the Philadelphia Accelerator Fund and private lenders, and to leverage the expertise and resources within the BIA membership to deliver ninety affordable units for homeownership. Ultimately. We want to help establish a solid group of developers with the tools and connections to navigate the city’s land bank process and expand the number and diversity of private sector applicants.

In cooperation with Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, nine applications will be submitted to the Land Bank this month for 90 lots in the Mantua neighborhood of the 3rd Councilmanic District. Councilmember Gauthier welcomed the opportunity to see what resources the private sector could bring to the table that would help redevelop vacant properties in her district and increase the inventory of affordable for-sale homes. The BIA plans to mentor two cohorts per year and replicate the model in other city districts.

Breaking Ground

On February 20, members Mo Rushdy and Dawud Bey celebrated their partnership and groundbreaking Land Bank project with Mayor Parker and Council President Kenyatta Johnson. Dawud participated in the PHDC’s Minority Developer Program and received vacant lots near 29th and Tasker in the 2nd Councilmanic District, partnering with Mo and The Riverwards Group to build 39 affordable housing units. Members Penn Community Bank and WSFS are providing financing, along with the Philadelphia Accelerator Fund. Watch the video by member Elevated Angles LLC.

Two Locals Make History

The BIA and UDA celebrated Black History Month with a happy hour for members and friends at Two Locals Brewing Co., the first Black-owned brewery in Pennsylvania. Councilmembers Jamie Gauthier, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, and Jeffery Young, along with Senator Sharif Street, joined more than 250 attendees to recognize the achievement. View the full photo album by Brandon C. Ballard.

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