Philadelphia’s affordable housing strategy depends on repairing existing homes

Belinda Eldridge has been living in her South Philadelphia home for 48 years. For the last three, she’s known something was wrong with the wiring. Her lights dimmed, appliances periodically stopped working, and, sometimes, electrical outlets spit sparks.

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Roof leaks damaged her ceilings. Every time it rained, Eldridge, 69, was afraid to look down into her basement and confront the flooding there from cracked pipes. Her husband had been able to fix some things around the house, but he died eight years ago.

“I just couldn’t afford all the repairs I knew I needed,” Eldridge said. “There are other people just like me feeling like I did that they don’t want to leave their homes, but they can’t afford to get the work done.”

So a few years ago, she applied for a home repair grant. And this year, she got a new roof, plumbing, and electrical work.

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