City Council proposes 3 measures to 'narrow the gap'

Philadelphia City Hall
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia City Council Tuesday released a report on steps the city could take to reduce poverty and announced it would act on three of the recommendations this week.

The report, called "Narrowing the Gap," was commissioned by Council President Darrell Clarke.

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The authors, HR&A Advisors, Inc., were paid $75,000 to suggest strategies for poverty alleviation and prevention.

They lay out some two dozen recommendations on housing, jobs, education and the social safety net. 

Some are already in place, such as a higher minimum wage for city contractors. One, called a "linkage fee" in the report, is very similar to the construction impact tax that council tried and withdrew. 

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Clarke, however, says he's developed three bills in response to the report.

One, co-sponsored with Councilwoman Helen Gym, would create a Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund to prevent evictions or sub-par living conditions. Another would support housing for inmates returning to their community. 

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The third would impose affordable housing requirements on certain property sold by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

"If you want to buy publicly owned land, then we want to link it directly with low-income individuals and individuals who have been disadvantaged as it relates to the workforce," Clarke said.

The bills are expected to be introduced at this week's council session, right after the mayor's budget address.