On October 30, 2018, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (HAP) released a new report titled Revitalizing Pennsylvania.
It examines the various ways that cities across the state have successfully revitalized blighted properties, and recommends methods by which other communities can do likewise.
“How do we really create communities where people are proud to live there and want to live there?” said Phyllis Chamberlain, HAP’s Executive Director.
For many years, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania has been committed to supporting community efforts to turn around blighted properties. The result of their work is a range of new powers and tools, made possible through state legislation, that provide local leaders with the ability to implement solutions to the problem.
Their collective successes demonstrate that this approach—strategic policy changes at the state level—along with smart implementation of on-the-ground strategies led by community stakeholders, makes a measurable impact.
Blight can seem like an insurmountable challenge. When we break down the issue into its root causes, however, we can better understand the problem and target solutions. That’s why the Housing Alliance endeavored to take stock of the work that’s been done, evaluate what’s working, and look at what’s next.
This new report was created by soliciting feedback from communities of all sizes around the commonwealth. Through surveys, interviews, and in-person meetings, we gathered information about projects, policies, and practices that people are using and we asked which are working best and what needs to improve.
In this report you’ll find profiles of communities, advice from experts, and policy and practice priorities for the next steps in our work to end blight. While each community has their own unique challenges, this report provides everyone with a set a tools to address them.
“The report outlines all the successes that local communities are putting into place in regard to strategies to tackle the issue of blight,” adds Chamberlain.
The Pennsylvania statewide blight taskforce announced they’ll be adopting those recommendations moving forward. “You can address a problem property,” concluded Chamberlain. “When you show success, you build momentum. Blight is still a pretty big problem, and we still need to do more. And the fact that the task force will take on the policy agenda is very, very significant.”
The Revitalizing PA report also highlights strategies and policy recommendations for tackling blight on the local and state level, like including enhanced code enforcement, increased state funding for programs aimed at fighting blight, and attracting more people to invest in distressed communities.
Images courtesy of Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.