There’s a new $2.6 million housing development in West Philadelphia that will provide homes for families in need.

The People’s Emergency Center, a Philadelphia social service agency that serves homeless mothers and their young children, recently cut the ribbon on the Bigham Leatherberry Wise Place development.

The development located at 4226-32 Powelton Ave. and 4231 Filbert St., includes six, two-bedroom units, five three-bedroom units and features a courtyard and play space for young children. It transformed a vacant lot and an existing structure into new affordable homes.

“As part of People’s Emergency Center’s mission to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and serve as a catalyst for positive change, Bigham Leatherberry Wise is important to this neighborhood because it provides affordable rentals in a changing neighborhood, and coincides with the homeownership projects in the pipeline in this neighborhood,” said Kathy Desmond, interim president and CEO of PEC.

Seven of the rental units will be for families experiencing homelessness and four are reserved for low-to-moderate income families. Two of the units will be fully accessible to people with disabilities and one will be accessible to individuals with sensory impairments. Applications for the new development will open later this month.

PEC will provide support services such as case management, children’s programs, affordable childcare, counseling and therapy, drug and alcohol out-patient treatment, and employment and training programs to families who reside at Bigham Leatherberry Wise.

“Quality, safe and affordable housing gives families the opportunity to focus on building a home,” said Deborah McColloch, director, Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD).

“Providing housing for women and their children gives the parents and the children the chance to thrive in our communities and schools.”

The development is named in honor of three local community organizers who have championed the needs of homeless families. Helen Bigham was a PEC board member and volunteer crossing several decades of PEC’s history. John Leatherberry and Elsie Wise both hold leadership positions with the West Powelton Concerned Citizens Council and are long-standing community organizers.

The project was supported by the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development and Office of Supportive Housing, as well as FHLBank Pittsburgh, TD Charitable Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and The Reinvestment Fund.

During the past two decades, the area around the Bigham Leatherberry Wise project has been the focal point of more than $54 million in investments from PEC’s real estate developments and has leveraged many millions more from the public and private sectors.

ajones@phillytrib.com

(215) 893-5747

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