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August 17, 2011

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Senator Hughes An informational update for you!

This publication is your opportunity to receive regular updates on the work and the issues that I have been involved with, both in Harrisburg and throughout our community.

Please visit my website, where you will find a comprehensive overview of our work, various phone numbers and contact information to assist you in solving problems, opportunities to volunteer and assist us in our programs and opportunities to give your feedback.

The Revitalization of Mantua Sets the Tone for Future Projects

Sen. Hughes tours Mantua section of Philadelphia

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, Senator Hughes and local business leaders tour section of Mantua that will be undergoing redevelopment

On Monday, I convened local officials, community leaders, including the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and real estate developers, Diamond and Associates, to announce generous awards totaling almost $16 million for the Mt. Vernon Manor apartments as part of the reinvestment program in the Mantua section of Philadelphia.

The revitalization of Mantua is important – it is a distressed community in need of assistance.  If you look around, it is not unlike a lot of other distressed communities in the city.  So, yes, the revitalization is important for this neighborhood, but its importance is much greater than its neighborhood boundaries.  Doing projects like renovating Mt. Vernon Manor is solid evidence of success – success showing government, local businesses, stakeholders and communities working collaboratively together, success showing people investing in an area instead of ignoring it and success showing that even in challenging environments, it can be done. Successful projects like this provide solid evidence for future undertakings of this nature.

It seems that every time we turn around, the news reminds us how grim the economic crisis is.  And it is.  As many of you know, Pennsylvania’s recently passed Republican backed budget cut services to those who need assistance the most – school children, elderly and the poor.  So, it seems almost impossible to be announcing good news.  But that is what has been happening in my district, and the most recent being the revitalization of Mantua.

The story of the Mt. Vernon Manor apartments is multi-layered.  Mantua is being transformed as a result of significant funding from a few different sources, and it is an incredible sign of collaboration and success during a challenging financial climate.

Sen. Hughes speaks about revitilization of Mt. Vernon Manor apartments

Sen. Hughes speaks to the media and guests about the revitalization of Mt. Vernon Manor apartments in the Mantua section of Philadelphia.
(Also pictured: Michael Thorpe, Chaiman, Mt. Vernon Manor, Inc.)

The apartment complex is being renovated to include updated apartments, landscaping and courtyards. The 125 Mt. Vernon Manor apartments were built in 1980 and are encompassed by a nine-building, housing complex that is assisted by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  In April, HUD awarded the Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments and the Mantua neighborhood one of 17 nationwide Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants for $250,000. The project was one of 119 applicants vying for the grant. The grant was a significant win for an area looking to improve, and opens the project up for the potential to receive an additional $20 million from HUD once the planning stage ends.

The goal of the grant is to support a comprehensive approach to revitalization that brings housing improvements together with various incomes and links them to quality education, transportation and jobs. This grant is also being supported with additional financial and in-kind services from the Philadelphia Foundation, Drexel University, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and One Economy Corporation.

An additional $3.7 million in funding for the redevelopment will be coming from the city of Philadelphia through its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). NSP identifies neighborhoods that are most in need of going from vacant, foreclosed properties to owner occupied dwellings. Mantua is a target area for the city’s investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as stimulus funding. Mantua Sign

Finally, PHFA supported the federal and city efforts by awarding $12 million in Low Income Housing tax credits to support the $15.6 million first phase renovation, which includes six of the nine existing buildings for a total of 75 apartments.  

Mt. Vernon Manor joins Mantua Square and Union Hill as affordable housing developments in Mantua as the area continues to undergo a dramatic transformation attracting new development and businesses – a dramatic transformation that will be hard to not want to replicate in communities across the city that need assistance.  Investment in our neighborhoods and people works, and the revitalization of Mantua is just the beginning. 

Additional information on this project can be found at

For more pictures from Senator Hughes' tour of Mantua, click here.

Be sure to visit Senator Hughes at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes


4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778

Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579
Senator Hughes reacts to the Republicans unveiling their budget on Monday, June 27. Senator Hughes talks to the press on Friday, June 24th about the growing budget surplus