The Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County (RADC) has launched two pilot programs designed to promote and strengthen homeownership in the City of Chester. Both complement existing employer-assisted housing efforts.
Under the new home repair program, funds will be made available on a 3-1 matching basis to eligible employees for exterior home improvements on their primary residence such as: window replacement, porch repairs, painting, etc. The maximum amount available to an employee is $750.
For the pilot phase, employees from the Chester Water Authority, Crozer Keystone Health System, Delaware County Community College, DELCORA, Harrah’s, Health Mats, and Widener University could be eligible because their employers offer an employer-assisted housing benefit.
The Alliance will also offer $3,000 grants to one Chester City police officer, one Chester City firefighter, and one Chester Upland School District teacher to assist with down payment and closing cost assistance for the purchase of their primary residence in Chester.
Funding for this effort has come from the TD Charitable Foundation.
“The Employer Assisted Housing program is about building up people and strengthening the community,” explained Michael McGee, Alliance executive director. “We work to ensure people are offered credit and home buying counseling services, with the goal of enabling people to purchase their own home. The financial assistance we provide reduces a key barrier to owning and maintaining a home.”
Alliance Chairman Ron Baumann said, “Our board recognizes the economic and social impact that increasing the rate of homeownership can have on the city. We have had 35 employees purchase their primary residence in Chester since the program’s inception in 2008, and our goal is to add 15 more within the next year. Creating a home repair component is a logical next step to broaden our reach into the neighborhoods.”
Baumann noted that future plans include working with new and existing partners to target specific neighborhoods where efforts can be scaled to make a significant impact. “We want to inventory areas where it makes sense to conduct a focused façade improvement effort, rehabilitate blighted homes, and ultimately, build new homes.
“The Alliance hopes employers throughout the county would offer Employer-Assisted Housing benefit sas well. “There are benefits to both the employee and employer to have people living close to their jobs,” said McGee. “We are willing to serve as a resource to help employers develop programs within their companies.”
The Alliance is a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization, based in Chester, whose mission is to serve as the catalyst for economic development along the Delaware County waterfront. RADC board members must serve as the CEO, COO, owner, or general manager of the organization they represent.