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New Year, New Philly

January 3, 2024 Category: FeatureFeatured

On January 2, 2024, Philadelphia historically ushered in a new era. At The MET Philadelphia and online, thousands of Philadelphia leaders, community members, and supporters gathered to watch the 100th Mayor of Philadelphia be sworn in as the first Black woman and first woman mayor, along with the new President of City Council. Each of them took time to thank their supporters, laying to rest “footnotes” that have accompanied their professional careers, and present their plans for how they plan to change Philadelphia for the better. Plans for issues that have been a “footnote” to Philadelphia’s successes and failures.

Newly appointed Council President Kenyatta Johnson highlighted the interconnectedness of poverty, with one effect being housing insecurity – his third area of focus.

“According to our city’s office of homelessness,” he stated, “there are currently 4725 People living without functional housing in our city. It will not have your home to go to this evening. That is totally unacceptable. We must continue to acknowledge and confront our housing crisis by addressing the critical need for more affordable and workforce housing options and give more funding to programs to help residents prepare and stay in their homes.”

Photo by monica, used via creative commons license

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Photo by spiritofamerica, used via creative Commons license

 

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Both emphasized the need to improve Philadelphia’s workforce and business sector. Council President Johnson spoke about reforming the city’s tax structure and preparing the workforce for the demands of business, while Mayor Parker announced one of her administration’s 100-day initiatives, “PHL open for business,” aimed at removing barriers for companies to do business in the city.

photo by Carlos David, used via creative commons

 

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In closing, Mayor Parker held her hand in the air and again invoked her slogan “One Philly united” to garner community support and commitment to the city and her administration.

“…we want your ideas on how we can be more successful, we hope that you will listen to our calls for your leadership to participate, and that you will definitely respond. I want you to know that. I know this is a lot that we promise. All this we promise we do and more. And I believe in the city government that our people can see touch and feel with visible actions, helping people at the neighborhood level…The vision was safer, cleaner, greener with access to economic opportunity for all but if we all work together, I said that we will be working to build one Philly, a city United…”

courtesy image from author

 

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What and ideas and vision do you have? What needs to be done to meet Mayor Parker and Council President Johnson’s goals?

Share your Insights?

 

Take a look at some insights from our readers

Housing

“The process of searching and being vetted for housing feels like it is missing the humanity of it. It is automated and feels intrusive and almost violent and challenging to find the type of spaces that meet my needs and is cost effective. There is a lot of anxiety around potential to be pushed out because of rising costs and not qualifying for government services as I’m not considered someone who is living below the poverty level.”

“I think that there need to be a cap put on these landlords who are renting and going up on the rent 2x a year just because they can. They start at $50 and go up twice a year at that price and the next year it is $100. That is usery. The rent is so high people who are renting can just pay rent, no gas on and electric off not to mention the water. Yes, landlords want you to pay the water bill not the usage. But you are only making max $12 an hour and most less. People are taking 3 kids and moving into rooms. Hurts my soul. Kids can’t study because lack of sleep, housing situation and more. There should be a law against this.”

Workforce Development

“With the burgeoning life sciences industry in Philadelphia, we have the opportunity to collectively reimagine who gets access to quality careers. It is a collective effort to train young talent and reskill existing workers to ensure that our workforce is competitive and adaptable.”

Government and Accountability

“My thoughts on the success of the new local government, including our Mayor, City Counsel and Judges, is as follows: 1)Rootedness: how are Philadelphians rooted in their homes and communities? There are categories of households where things may be humming along -gainful employment, post-secondary education, healthy living and the absence of domestic violence would be one category where one or two family members engage with the new agenda. By contrast, households and neighborhoods with low financial stability, where health issues cause emotional stress, and where members lack a vision of the future that encourages civil engagement will not benefit from the collaboration of leaders and the funding of programs making incremental success measured in decades rather than years. As someone who has spend over two decades working with various programs here, I know that consistency matters across agencies, schools and services that citizens depend on. 2) Trust: we know it takes a long time to gain and very little time to lose. Our collective expectations of government performance should be as high as they are for our sports teams, especially since the cost of services seem to keep pace with inflation. Real perceptions can gradually improve if steps can be taken to educate and inform the public as well as asking for feedback at the neighborhood level. It has always been a mistake to restrict such interaction to the narrow windows of election cycles. Between elections, find out what parents need – all parents, from those in public housing to middle income folks from all Philly zip codes. This is a lot of work, but ostensibly, that is what our at-large politicians signed up for. If more tears and sweat are shed, then we may yet see a real reduction in violence.”

 

 

 

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What needs to be done to meet the goals set by Mayor Parker and Council President Johnson? Share your Insights

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