PHILADELPHIA – Vitus Group, a national developer and owner of affordable housing, announced the preservation and planned renovation of Four Freedoms House of Philadelphia and Philip Murray House, two affordable senior housing properties with 590 high-quality units. The acquisition will preserve the affordability of the apartments for 30 years.
“At Vitus, we seek out communities where the availability of quality affordable housing is at risk, such as Philadelphia. We work hard not just to acquire and preserve these housing units, but also to improve the lives of residents,” said Stephen Whyte, Managing Director for Vitus Group. “We are excited to partner with the long-time nonprofit ownership to make significant physical improvements and bring active design amenities to the properties.”
Located in the Germantown and Fern Rock neighborhoods, these high-rise buildings provide affordable housing for over 650 older adults. Both properties are within a mile of a commercial and retail district and are served by public transportation. Five hundred units are set aside for households with annual incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), and the remainder is set aside for those households with incomes at 60 percent or below AMI.
Disruption to residents will be minimal during the renovation and they will be able to remain in place. The renovation will include replacement of in-unit appliances, cabinets, countertops, lighting and plumbing fixtures. The buildings’ roofs will be replaced, masonry will be repaired, windows will be replaced as needed and landscaping and outdoor lighting will be improved. In addition, 31 units will be upgraded to become ADA accessible. With these enhancements, the property will provide comparable or better quality housing than other housing in the market area. Renovations are expected to be completed in December, 2016.
In addition to preserving and improving the quality of the existing affordable housing stock, Vitus promotes wellness-centered communities that provide residents more opportunities to make healthier choices. Vitus will install “active design” amenities such as community gardens, indoor and outdoor activity space, drinking fountains and improved pedestrian pathways at both properties. Residents will have access to onsite health programs that are provided free of charge, including exercise classes, nutrition education, health screenings, access to food pantries and social activities.
Vitus’ affordable housing model is part of a larger commitment to address the social determinants of health through the built environment. This is reflected in their commitment to Active Design Verified, a joint initiative of the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Center for Active Design. Through the partnership, Vitus is integrating active design strategies and health programs in an estimated 3,000 units of affordable housing throughout the United States – affecting more than 5,000 people.