Affordable housing coming to 30th and Wharton

Photo by Jared Piper, Philadelphia City Council.

Work will soon begin on the first leg of a project to build 1,000 new affordable energy-efficient homes across the city.

The 3000 block of Wharton Street in Grays Ferry in South Philadelphia was the site of a gathering on Dec. 12 as City Council leaders, housing officials and advocates broke ground on one of the sites that will soon be home to families with limited income.

Once completed, the homes will be sold to qualifying Philadelphia residents under the “Turn The Key” program funded through Council’s Neighborhood Preservation Initiative.

According to the developers for this project, construction on the first 8-10 homes on Wharton Street should start sometime in January and will take between six and nine months to complete. The first group of 25 houses in Grays Ferry will sell for $230,000 per home. 

“I am happy that the groundbreaking of the first 25 homes to be built under ‘Turn the Key’ will be built in Grays Ferry in the Second District,” Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said. “These will be the first of 1,000 affordable homes to be built across Philadelphia over the next several years. Philadelphia has experienced a development boom in recent years, and it is important to make sure that we make housing available for citizens of Philadelphia – regardless of their checkbook or pocketbook. I thank Council President Clarke and my colleagues for passing legislation to make this affordable home ownership program a reality.”

“Turn The Key” is being funded through the $400 million NPI program created by City Council in 2020. It is expected to help facilitate the sale of the new, energy-efficient, 3-bedroom, 1½-bath homes on publicly owned city land, which reduces development costs, increasing home affordability.

NPI’s Mortgage Affordability Program will offer loans of up to $75,000 (subject to household income) to help further reduce the homes’ cost. The 30-year loans will be secured by a second mortgage, and portions will be forgiven over time.

“Today marks another critical step forward for the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “NPI is launching the largest development of affordable housing in Philadelphia history. Grays Ferry is a first step. We have many more groundbreakings to give residents the chance to own their own home.”

Construction of more homes will follow in other parts of the city where affordable housing is needed.

“I am excited to celebrate our first of many Turn The Key groundbreakings,” said Angel Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Land Management at the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and executive director of Philadelphia Land Bank. “Using publicly owned land for this program helps reduce blight in our communities and reduces the cost to develop these homes. Using this land also increases the affordability, which is important. Turn The Key is a pathway for families to build generational wealth and receive other benefits that come from home ownership.”

For more information on Turn The Key and eligibility requirements, visit