The Chester Economic Development Authority administers housing programs on behalf of the City of Chester. The goal of these programs is to promote a variety of quality housing options for Chester residents, specifically focusing on increasing the number of homeowners in Chester and stabilizing neighborhoods. These goals are met by offering housing programs that can generally be divided into two categories: direct financial assistance to homebuyers and development assistance for the construction or rehabilitation of housing for low and moderate income buyers.
The Homebuyer Assistance Program (HAP) and the Moderate Income Homebuyer Assistance program (MIHAP) offer direct financial assistance to homebuyers. Both programs offer either a zero percent interest loan to cover a portion of the downpayment and closing costs for first time homebuyers (HAP) or closing cost assistance for moderate income families who may have previously owned a home (MIHAP). Homebuyer education and credit counseling is available through the Chester Community Improvement Project (CCIP).
Development assistance typically is used to write down the cost of construction on properties that are being rehabilitated or newly constructed housing. Current housing developments include 26 new affordable homeownership units as part of the Union Square project, the development of 50 new units of affordable homeownership units as part of the Wellington Ridge development, and scattered rehabilitated homes for sale through the Chester Community Improvement Project’s East Gateway Triangle project. Both Community Action Agency and the Delaware County Housing Coalition are renovating single-family homes in the McDowell/Elsinore area. In addition to these homeownership projects, the City of Chester is funding the development of 70 affordable rental units known as Pentecostal Square.
For additional information on any of these programs, please contact CEDA at 610-447-7850.
The development is a joint venture between Ingerman Affordable Housing and the First Pentecostal Holy Church. Pentecostal Square's location in the heart of Chester will provide easily access the surrounding communities and will allow its residents to maintain their connections to the region. The single building (+/-73,000 sf) will contain 70 units (53 one and 17 two-bedroom units) and will be fitted with the modern amenities needed by the elderly. Each unit will have bathrooms fitted with shower grab-bars and lever-style faucets for easier and safer use. Also, each unit is 100% handicap adaptable and all hallways have handrails to help residents stay mobile. All of these age-specific amenities are provided in addition to all the standard amenities expected in a modern apartment building. Units will have central air conditioning, dishwasher and garbage disposals. The building will have a full sprinkler system, laundry room, and a furnished community room with warming kitchen for gatherings.
The development site for Union Square is located at 3rd and Yarnall Streets in Chester's west end at the site of the old Dewey/Horace Mann lots. These 26 affordable homes will have a base price of $100,000. All of the homes will have four bedrooms plus a den and three full bathrooms. Union Square homes include many features that are desirable and expected in today's new housing market, and homebuyers have the option of customizing their home through the selection of certain upgrades as is found in other new market-rate homeownership developments.
Leading the Union Square effort is T.J. Properties, Inc., a for-profit developer with extensive affordable housing experience in Pennsylvania. Its partners in this development effort are the Chester Redevelopment Authority and the Chester Community Improvement Program, a community non-profit with a mission of fostering homeownership in the City.
Wellington Heights Homeownership (WHH) Phase II is another new housing improvement developed by Pennrose Properties, that is taking shape in the City of Chester. The development consists of 20 single-family, semi-detached homes. The WHH development consists of two sites: one in Highland Gardens and the other at 6th & Reaney Streets. The first site being redeveloped is in the most distressed section of the Highland Gardens neighborhood within Chester's upper west end. In accordance with Pennsylvania Redevelopment law, the Chester Planning Commission declared the area blighted based upon condition of the properties in the area, vacancy rates, and socio-economic factors. The second site is ripe for redevelopment as it has been sitting vacant since the dwelling units that once were located on the site were demolished as part of an urban renewal project.
Proposed site plan of Wellington Gardens.
Crozer Hills, developed by Pennrose Properties, is located on a 7.47 acre site at 14th & Kerlin Streets, in the former Park Villa area above Crozer Park. The Crozer Hills homes have at least 1,600 square feet of living space with attached or detached garages depending upon the model. Standard units have 3 bedrooms and 2 ½ bathrooms. The Crozer Hills homes have at least 1,600 square feet of living space with attached or detached garages depending upon the model. Standard units have 3 bedrooms and 2 ½ bathrooms. Sales prices started at $140,000 with additional options and upgrades available. The City was able to use the Keystone Opportunity Zone tax benefits to make the houses more affordable.