MAYOR NUTTER RELEASES 2015 GREENWORKS PHILADELPHIA PROGRESS REPORT

Philadelphia, June 30, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the 2015 Greenworks Philadelphia Progress Report, the sixth and final summary of the work completed under the City of Philadelphia’s comprehensive sustainability plan during the Nutter Administration.

 

Offering a keynote address at the Franklin Institute, the Mayor said that of the 164 initiatives outlined in the plan, 160 are already underway or complete.  Of the 15 target areas, the City has exceeded, met or nearly met 7 of its goals and is trending in the right direction on 4 others.

 

The full report is available online at www.phila.gov/green.

 

Additionally, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability also released a web-based mapping and visualization tool that showcases citywide progress. Created with local geospatial analysis firm Azavea, the Greenworks Map provides an easy way to access information about the City’s place-based sustainability investments by displaying them geographically. Users can see Greenworks projects and initiatives in a citywide map-view, zoom to a particular neighborhood or address, and filter by areas of interest. The Map will be available to partners to use and will be updated regularly as new projects are implemented.

 

The Greenworks Map is available at www.Greenworksmap.com or on the Office of Sustainability’s homepage at www.phila.gov/green.

 

The text of the speech is as follows, check against delivery:

 

 

Good afternoon and thank you all so much for joining us.

 

Today, we are releasing the Greenworks 2015 Progress Report, the last sustainability report to be issued by this Administration. I wanted to take the opportunity to bring together core partners to thank you and celebrate what we have accomplished together over the past eight years.

 

We are thrilled to be back at the Franklin Institute, the place where we launched our Greenworks plan in 2009, in its beautiful new LEED-certified conference center.

 

Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of the Franklin Institute, is here.  Let’s give him a round of applause.

 

I want to thank Katherine Gajewski for that very kind introduction.  For the last few years, with the support of her team at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Katherine has coordinated our sustainability efforts to great success.

 

Let’s recognize Katherine Gajewski and the entire team at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

 

Before we begin, I’d also like to acknowledge the many city officials who have been integral partners in making Philadelphia a greener city, especially: Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources; Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Commerce Director; Howard Neukrug, Water Commissioner; Dave Perri, Streets Commissioner; and John Elfrey, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities.

 

One of the things that make Greenworks so special is that nearly every department and agency played a role in its development and implementation. Thank you to all of my City colleagues who are here today.

 

Just over six years ago, I was proud to announce Greenworks Philadelphia – a bold, innovative and comprehensive framework for a greener, more sustainable city, Philadelphia.

 

Many of you have been vital partners along the way, sharing your knowledge, expertise and passion with our Administration.  You have truly been a force to be reckoned with.

 

You have shouted your “green is good” mantra and convinced people in this city to listen to you.  You have created the change you want to see in our great City.

 

We are proud to share our success, and make no mistake Greenworks has been a success, with all of you. It is one of the things I’m most proud of in my time as mayor.

 

When I took the oath of office, I said Philadelphia must become the greenest city in America.  It was a simple statement – an ambitious, aspirational goal that focused on short-term changes and long-term results for the benefit of Philadelphians, their children and their grandchildren.

 

As we started, we knew we had the assets: a city of walkable streets, one of the best regional transit systems in the country, an incredible and large park system, and a rich stock of durable buildings.

 

We knew we would have the support of the organized and focused sustainability movement, but we needed a plan that would rally Philadelphians, and we needed to implement it well.

 

Back then, it was a question of will.  Did Philadelphia have the will power to challenge the status quo of high carbon emissions, massive energy consumption and low recycling rates?

 

Would we fight back against the literal rising tides of climate change?

 

Could we get Philadelphians to care about an issue that seemed less pressing than crime, jobs and education?

 

While policy makers and pundits argued about whether climate change was real – even though the science is significantly settled — municipal governments had to lead the way and create impactful policy.

 

Our plan, complete with measureable goals to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has 164 initiatives.  And, we built in transparency and accountability measures, reporting on our progress each year.

Greenworks covers nearly every facet of ‘greening’ imaginable: energy efficiency, waste management, air and water quality, clean energy, public green spaces and even the tree canopy.  Most importantly, it allows everyone to play a role, and it is our collective action that is bringing about great changes for our great city.

 

When we launched Greenworks, we brought together city departments, advocates, community groups and other stakeholders to work toward a shared goal – to become a more sustainable, equitable and livable city, to improve our shared urban environment.

 

And, the results have been nothing short of tremendous.

 

In 2007, our city-wide recycling rate was as abysmal 6%. Today, it is above 20%.

 

We’ve increased the amount of waste that is recycled or used to produce energy from 53% to 73%.

 

City government green house gas emissions have been reduced 15% below 1990 levels.

 

Even as federal air quality standards have gotten stricter, Philadelphia has seen record low numbers of unhealthy air quality days in 2013 and 2014 at just 6 days.

 

We greened more than 580 acres to manage stormwater and planted more than 120,000 new trees since 2009 and created TreeKeepers, a seasonal maintenance crew that supports our tree canopy goals while learning critical job skills.

 

We’ve increased Philadelphians’ access to healthy, affordable food with more than 100 new farmers markets, gardens, and farms and convened Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council.

 

Since 2008, we have retrofitted more than 16,250 homes making them more energy efficient, more affordable to own, and more comfortable.

 

I want to say a little something about retrofitting – prior to this Administration, retrofitting wasn’t a significant presence in Philadelphia.  We saw this as an opportunity where leadership could create incentives to increase individual energy efficiency in homes and businesses.  We used federal grant dollars, formed partnership and now, we’re even attracting businesses to the City that specialize in this kind of work.

 

We’ve added about 100 miles of bike lanes and launched the City’s bike share program, Indego, which celebrated its 100,000th rider two weeks ago after less than two months of operation.

 

These accomplishments and many more are detailed in depth in the 2015 Greenworks Philadelphia Progress Report, which you received today.

 

I won’t go into great detail.  The report, and its 164 initiatives, speaks for itself, but I do want to point out that, of the 15 targets, we have exceeded, met or nearly met 7 of our goals and are trending in the right direction on 4 others.

 

And, other city departments are getting in on the greening efforts, too.  Look at:

 

Green City, Clean Waters, a historic agreement between the City and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a program in the Water Department that installs green infrastructure, instead of more costly grey infrastructure, to better manage storm water runoff.

 

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is currently running a set of experiments with The Wagner Free Institute of Science and local community groups in Haddington Woods in West Philadelphia to understand adaptive forest management appropriate for the changing weather Philadelphia will experience in the coming century.  This program will help us make investments in restoration practices that will preserve our forests for generations to come.

 

Get Healthy Philly: The Health Department, in partnership with the Food Trust, created eight new farmers markets and 669 healthy corner stores.  It also developed Philly Food Bucks, an incentive program that allows SNAP recipients to add $2 worth of fresh fruits and veggies to their purchase for every $5 in SNAP benefits they use at farmers markets in the city.

 

Today, city departments are collaborating with partners inside and outside of government to make our city more sustainable.  For example:

 

Parks for People: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, the Water Department and the School District of Philadelphia, are greening schoolyards and recreation centers in five neighborhoods with a shortage of open, green public space.  The first 10 sites will be completed by early next year.

 

PowerCorpsPHL: An AmeriCorps program designed to support Philadelphia’s environmental stewardship, workforce development and youth violence prevention priorities, PowerCorpsPHL members serve with the Water and Parks & Rec departments to maintain the city’s stormwater infrastructure and urban green spaces.

 

These initiatives, big and small, are moving us toward our ultimate goal of making Philadelphia the greenest city in America.

 

And, Greenworks’ positive outcomes have informed the sustainability planning efforts of other partners.  SEPTA, Center City District, University City District and the School District of Philadelphia have each shared in our vision and developed or are working on their own plans.

 

A great example of leadership and partnership is SEPTA’s climate planning for the Manayunk Norristown high speed line. An increase in flooding incidents made SEPTA realize they needed to start climate adaptation planning.

 

Their work to understand how extreme weather influences their operations helped them win $87 million in Sandy recovery funds from the Federal Transportation Administration and also provided a helpful example that the City followed as we began our own climate adaptation planning.

 

As this example shows, regional work is informing federal programs and supporting local progress. We’re all in this together.

 

As you can tell, greening and sustainability efforts have become a part of the fabric of our municipal government – in fact, we’ve earned overwhelming support from Philadelphians and made our sustainability efforts a permanent part of city government.  I want to thank Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown for her advocacy around sustainability efforts.

 

We’ve created a new vision of a greener Philadelphia with a sustainable future and this will be even more important in the coming years as we continue to experience the impacts of climate change.

 

Let me just say, I believe that climate change is not only real, but a serious threat looming over our nation and every nation on the planet.  And cities responsible for emergency services, stormwater management and street plowing are the first responders to the results of climate change.

 

In the last few years alone, Philadelphia has seen the snowiest winter ever; the two warmest summers ever; the hottest July ever; the wettest day and the wettest month ever; two hurricanes; and something called a derecho, which I’d never heard of before!

 

The effects of climate change are real and serious.  Temperature fluctuations are already stressing our infrastructure from buildings facades to streets and water mains.

 

We know we need to be proactive, and so we are working with climate scientists to understand what these changes will look like in Philadelphia.

 

This much seems clear: the trends we’re already seeing will continue.  It will be hotter and wetter, and we will have to make real changes to prepare so that Philadelphia can continue to thrive for our children and grandchildren.

 

And that’s just here.  Around the world, weather is becoming more extreme – floods, droughts, hurricanes, hotter days, more extreme cold, an average temperature increase worldwide of 1.5 degrees Farenheit over the last 100 years.

 

And the global effects of climate change, like rising sea levels and widening deserts, will be dire if we don’t do something now.

 

Pope Francis has spoken out on the environment and climate change – saying what should be evident to us all; that climate change is a global issue with deep repercussions for the entire human race if we don’t take action now to address it.

 

While Congress is at an impasse, I commend President Barack Obama for his commitment to climate change.

 

Last year, the President convened the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, on which I was honored to serve.

 

The Task Force brought together state, local, and tribal leaders to develop a set of concrete recommendations on how the federal government can assist us in facing the challenges of climate change – and many of these recommendations are already being developed.

The Task Force also led to a serious discussion on the urgency of climate change and the role cities can play in addressing it.

 

That’s why, together with my fellow mayors and Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force members, Annise Parker of Houston and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, we launched the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda, which aims to raise awareness around the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally.

 

Climate change will be one of the great leadership challenges cities and nations face in the coming years.  Cities like Philadelphia have gained valuable experience through sustainability planning that will be immensely helpful as we tackle future challenges.

 

The challenges ahead are great, but so are the opportunities.  The next generation of the sustainability movement will need to be even more transformative, better linking efforts to neighborhoods, because ultimately, we must remember that people are at the heart of sustainability. Environmental outcomes and social equity must go hand in hand.

 

Now, it is up to the next mayor and it’s my greatest hope that the new Administration not only continues this work, but embraces it with new ideas and energy.

 

As Philadelphia’s leaders in this sector, you must carry this work forward and hold the next Administration accountable.  Our future as a city depends on it.

 

Specifically, we need to focus on:

 

Enhancing transportation options for all Philadelphians, which includes making sure our streets are safe and accommodate all forms of transportation – an idea referred to as ‘complete streets’.

 

Improving Philadelphians’ access to green spaces by continuing to focus investments in neighborhoods that are most in need.  We took on this work through Green2015 and the ParksForPeople program, the Knight and William Penn Foundations along with the Fairmount Park Conservancy are continuing this work through their ‘Re-imagining the Civic Commons’ project for 5 revitalized public spaces like the Reading Viaduct and West Parkside.  The next administration should continue investments in neighborhoods that haven’t yet been helped.

 

Strategically planning for a changing energy future by developing a city-wide energy-use master plan.  In the future, our relationship to energy must change.  We’re going to have to use less of it, and get more of what we do use from renewable resources.

 

And preparing for climate change.  I’m proud of the work the Office of Sustainability has done to identify the changes we’ll face in Philadelphia and understand what we’ll need to continue providing services and maintain our infrastructure.

 

Our adaptation plan will be published this summer, and it’s a great first step toward preparing Philadelphia to thrive in a new climate.  The next Administration will need to carefully consider the recommendations from the plan and use it to help residents and businesses prepare.

 

As I said, you have the report.  The facts are there, but let me give you my sense of the big picture.

 

The successful cities of the future will be those that operate efficiently, provide clean air and water, offer a high quality of life and public health, and are resilient to the coming changes we know will challenge our infrastructure, economies, systems and every resident.

 

Hanging on the wall in my office is a quote by American architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham.  It is a quote by which I live and govern.

 

He said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.  Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.  Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.  Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.  Think big.”

 

Mr. Burnham was talking to Chicago’s City Council about the Plan of Chicago, a plan that shaped city planning in Chicago and around the world.

 

A principled man of great vision, Daniel Burnham knew, perhaps better than most, that an ambitious and forward-thinking plan, grounded in hard work and practical action, could yield great results not just for today, but for generations to come.

 

I believe Greenworks Philadelphia is a big plan, the kind that would have made Mr. Burnham proud.

Over the last six years, Greenworks has identified and implemented solutions to make Philadelphia a greener city with a sustainable future.  It has created a sturdy platform for future sustainability success.

 

But the work has just begun.  Clearly, there is much more to do.

 

Now, it is up to those who will take up our sustainability torch to build on Greenworks foundation.

 

Plant more trees and create more greened acres.

 

Reduce municipal energy consumption, our dependence on traditional energy sources and city-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Expand the development and use of renewable energy.  Increase recycling and diversion rates.

 

Help Philadelphia residents and businesses in every neighborhood reduce their energy use by retrofitting old buildings and building highly efficient new construction.

 

Raise awareness and better educate residents about what the average citizen can do to reduce their individual carbon footprints.

 

Continue to seek out sustainability benefits, not just for the environment, but to the health and well-being of citizens and to the economy and beauty of our neighborhoods.

 

To the next generation of green advocates I have one request:  expand the movement, refine the vision and stagger us with what you can do.

 

For soon, it will be your responsibility, as the Athenian Oath says, to “…transmit this city greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

 

Thank you. And now let’s celebrate!

 

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

MAYOR NUTTER SIGNS LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING NEW USE AND LEASE AGREEMENT FOR PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed a bill authorizing a new five-year Airport-Airline Use and Lease Agreement between Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and its partner airlines, which will take effective on July 1, 2015. 

 

“Philadelphia International Airport is truly an engine of economic growth; it generates $14.4 billion in spending for our regional economy and accounts for more than 140,000 jobs,” said Mayor Nutter.  “In addition, our city’s major economic sectors: education, medicine & research, hospitality and the growing startup & technology scene, all depend on efficient and cost-effective air travel.  This new agreement will allow the Airport to modernize operations so that we can continue to provide high quality service to the more than 30 million passengers that travel through PHL annually to more than 130 destinations around the world.”

 

The new Agreement, which also includes options for two 1-year extensions, was approved earlier this month in City Council.  The new lease, valued between $2.8 billion and $4.1 billion in existing and new commitments, will enable the Airport to continue to fund projects to enhance and modernize operations and provide effective and efficient service to passengers.

Over the proposed five- to seven-year term, airlines that service the Airport will pay an estimated total of $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion in new rates and charges.   Revenue generated through the collection of rates and charges is reinvested in the city-owned Airport, covering the cost of Airport operations and financing capital improvement projects.

Stephen Johnson, American Airlines Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs, also signed an authorizing document on behalf of American Airlines. PHL is served by 29 carriers, including American Airlines, which merged with US Airways in 2014.  American Airlines is the largest carrier and operates an international hub at PHL.

“This new Agreement is the result of months of negotiations with our airline partners to reach a common goal,” said PHL CEO Mark Gale. “It is a blueprint for continued growth, facility improvement and economic development.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

MAYOR NUTTER LAUNCHES COMMISSION ON UNIVERSAL PRE-KINDERGARTEN

Philadelphia, June 30, 2015– Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the launch of the Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten, which was approved through a ballot question by Philadelphia voters on May 19, 2015. The Commission is charged with conducting a comprehensive analysis and implementation plan for adopting universal pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year olds in Philadelphia, including recommending funding proposals. The Commission is required to submit a draft funding plan to the Mayor and City Council by January 15, 2016. Following a comment period, the Commission will submit their final report to the Mayor and City Council by April 15, 2016.

“Providing a high-quality education to our young people is the best possible way for our city to develop a robust economy, eliminate poverty, improve quality of life, and reduce violence,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am delighted that the voters of Philadelphia overwhelmingly approved the ballot question to create the Commission on Universal Pre-kindergarten. This Commission will address, head on, one of the major challenges facing Philadelphia—how to educate our children. It will work to ensure we have a sustainable funding plan, which will allow us to implement and maintain high-quality pre-kindergarten to better prepare thousands of children per year to enter our K-12 school system.”

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, sponsor of the resolution, said, “Nothing could be more important than giving our youth the chance to have positive lives and to get them started in gaining positive educations.  Pre-k is one of the major issues of our day; we look forward to making it a reality in our City.”

The Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten will meet no fewer than six times with at least two meetings held for public comment. Its’ final report will comprise relevant legislative, administrative, or policy recommendations, including:

  • Recommendations to the Mayor and Council for achieving a universal pre-kindergarten program, including a timeline and estimated costs; and,
  • One or more proposed Council bills to raise revenues sufficient to fund the program proposed by the Commission, with other reliable revenue sources, as available.

The co-chairs of the Commission are Sharon Easterling, Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, and Loretta Sweet Jemmott, Vice President for Health and Health Equity at Drexel University.

The other members of the Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten are:

  • Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell
  • Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown
  • Catherine Blunt, Former Principal, Parkway Center City High School
  • Miriam Calderon, Senior Advisor for Early Leaning, Commonweal Foundation
  • Diane Castelbuono, Deputy Chief for Early Learning, School District of Philadelphia
  • Donna Cooper, Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)
  • Rob Dubow, Director of Finance, City of Philadelphia
  • Jennifer Duffy, Principal, Henry Lea Elementary School
  • Michelle Figlar, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Vanessa Garrett-Harley, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, City of Philadelphia
  • Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Opportunity and Director of Commerce, City of Philadelphia
  • Reuben Jones, Executive Director, Frontline Dads, Inc.
  • Pheng Lim, Principal, Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures (FACT) Charter School
  • Lisa Nutter, President, Philadelphia Academies, Inc.

The Commission will be supported by staff from the Mayor’s Office of Policy & Planning, the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity and the Office of Finance.  All Commission members will serve without compensation.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

MAYOR NUTTER’S STATEMENT REGARDING POPE FRANCIS’ PHILADELPHIA ITINERARY ANNOUNCEMENT

Philadelphia, June 30, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement regarding the announcement of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his visit to Philadelphia:

“From visiting with inmates and their families at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility to appearances at some of Philadelphia’s most important, recognizable landmarks like Independence Hall and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis will touch the hearts and souls of millions when he visits the City of Philadelphia this September.  With the Holy Father’s itinerary now formalized, we will use this schedule to inform our planning, working closely with our partners at all levels of government, the World Meeting of Families and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  The City of Philadelphia has a long history of hosting big events; we will be ready to welcome Pope Francis when he arrives.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

MAYOR NUTTER TO LAUNCH COMMISSION ON UNIVERSAL PRE-KINDERGARTEN

WHO:            Mayor Michael A. Nutter

                        Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown

WHAT:          Mayor Nutter will announce the members of the Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten.

WHERE:        Mayor’s Reception Room, Room 202 City Hall

WHEN:          Tuesday, June 30, 2015               1:00 p.m.                  

*Note:           The first meeting of the Commission will be at noon in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall.  The press conference will immediately follow the meeting.

Posted in Media Advisory

MAYOR NUTTER RELEASES STATEMENT ON U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE

Philadelphia, June 26, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement regarding the United States Supreme Court’s decision that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry in all 50 states:

“I commend the Supreme Court for rendering today’s decision in favor of marriage equality.  As Justice Kennedy noted, same sex couples have a fundamental right to participate in one of civilization’s oldest institutions.  At the same time, the majority of Americans have voiced unequivocal support for same sex marriage. As with all of our Nation’s laws, today’s ruling has shown that the Constitution truly is a living, evolving document.  Earlier today, President Obama said, ‘we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect’.

As Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, a city founded on the principles of religious tolerance and the birthplace of freedom and democracy, I am proud that during this year’s Fourth of July celebration, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT demonstration in America which happened right here in our great city.  This display, and the subsequent yearly protests on Independence Mall, became known as ‘Annual Reminders’ – meant to remind Americans that a substantial number of their fellow citizens were being denied basic rights.  Today’s decision by the Supreme Court underscores the work in which the City of Philadelphia has been engaged for decades: assuring equal access and protection for the LGBT community.  While our work is not yet done because barriers to equality still exist, this is a huge leap forward for LGBT rights and our entire Nation.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS PASSES RESOLUTION URGING CONGRESS TO SUPPORT HOUSING PROGRAM

Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined the mayors of Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Tacoma, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; and Baltimore, Maryland in sponsoring a United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) resolution strongly urging Congress to take action to maintain current funding levels and local decision-making abilities for Moving To Work (MTW) housing programs across the country.  The resolution was passed during the 83rd Annual United States Conference of Mayors convening in San Francisco last weekend.

“The Moving To Work program is critical to the development and advancement of our Nation’s cities,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Cities are the drivers of our Nation’s economy; more than 80% of Americans live in urban areas.  As Mayors, we rely on programs like MTW to support our local housing authorities and provide safe, affordable housing for low-income and impoverished citizens.  I implore Congress to take action on this very important issue and vote to support Americans living in cities and metro-regions.”

MTW is a federal program for public housing authorities that provides them the opportunity to design and test innovative housing strategies that use federal dollars more efficiently, help residents find employment and become self-sufficient, and increase housing choices for low-income families. MTW also continues to be an important resource in providing permanent housing opportunities to special populations, including veterans, the homeless, children aging out of foster care and persons with disabilities. 

In response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) decision in August 2014 to drastically change the structure of the MTW demonstration program, Mayors of affected cities across the country have rallied together in an attempt to stop the significant cuts to the programs in their communities and prevent untold numbers of low-income households from losing their desperately needed housing assistance. Philadelphia is threatened with the loss of more than $49 million dollars per year. Such a loss would devastate the housing authority’s revitalization and development plans, as well as its existing housing stock.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, said, “Funding for MTW is now at risk of being drastically reduced, which would devastate Baltimore’s efforts to provide adequate housing to those in need and impair its ability to use alternative policies to increase the cost-effectiveness of assisted housing programs, promote the self-sufficiency of assisted families, and increase housing choices for low-income families.  It is imperative that MTW be extended for another ten years, or be made permanent, and that the appropriate funding and flexibility be preserved.” 

The resolution implores HUD to delay the implementation of the revised MTW program until the newly proposed program can be tested and HUD makes adequate guarantees that the Nation’s most vulnerable populations are not negatively affected by the changes to the program.

Edward Murray, Mayor of Seattle, Washington, said, “I applaud Mayor Nutter for the leadership he has shown in on this important issue.  Our housing authorities are one of our strongest partners in serving those most in need.  As housing costs continue to skyrocket, now is not the time for HUD to be ratcheting back housing programs, like Moving to Work, that provide flexibility for communities to find solutions that meet local needs.”

Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, Oregon, said, “I applaud the passage of this resolution, showing the support of our nation’s mayors for the Moving to Work program.  Moving to Work allows for innovative solutions to address challenges such as veteran homelessness.  In Portland, it facilitated Bud Clark Commons, a complex project which provides a haven, permanent homes, and a path forward for people experiencing homelessness. Moving to Work works, and I am proud of the US Conference of Mayors’ recognition of this program.”

Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of Tacoma, Washington, said, “Tacoma’s McCarver Housing Program improves outcomes for our youngest students by addressing family homelessness and mobility. This nationally recognized program would not be possible without Moving to Work funding flexibility. If we want to continue and expand this proven program to more neighborhood elementary schools, funding flexibility for our housing authority is crucial.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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