Newsletter: 🏠 Houses for more neighbors!!

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 214


Councilmember Darrell Clarke has put forth a new program called "Turn the Key", which intends to put around 1,000 new houses on the market, specifically for first-time low-income residents. Civetta Property Group has already broken ground in Grays Ferry, being tasked with the first round of 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom rowhouses that will cost $230,000. Prospective owners will be given a loan of up to $75,000 matched with a second mortgage, and then the loan will be forgiven after 30 years.

An example of some of the vacant lots that will be used for development.

The housing lots are mostly empty lots, either from the Land Bank or abandoned with L&I violations. Some are single lots between other rowhouses, while others are rebuilding whole blocks that have disappeared, like the 1400 block of N. Marston in Brewerytown. One development is using land abutting Regional Rail tracks by the Temple University stop on 9th Street and Oxford. It may prove problematic, though the land itself is in a state of disuse. Some of the larger lots would be more effective as multifamily housing, but multifamily housing may not fit the regulations set in the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which is what is being used as part of settling the mortgages.

"Turn the Key" is a long overdue program that is a great utilization of the Land Bank that can help prevent displacement of lower-income residents and contribute to the revitalization of communities victimized by systemic disinvestment. Finally, a true "Neighbors for More Neighbors" campaign!


The Mayor's Fund with the city Service Design Studio are looking for 12 residents to take part in the "Equitable Community Engagement Toolkit Community Advisory Council". They're looking for organizers or other engaged and interested individuals to guide the city on best practices for engagement.

Engagement details:

  • Addressing the access needs of communities who identify with a wide range of disabilities
  • Including Indigenous and Native perspectives alongside Black, Brown, Asian, and other communities of color
  • Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Vietnamese language inclusion, considering the needs of people whose primary language is other than English.
  • Addressing those who don’t feel comfortable using technology or don’t
  • have access to digital devices or the internet.

This is a position with a stipend of up to $6,000 made in three payments. Applications are due by Monday, January 16, 2023, by 5:00 pm EST. Applicants must live in Philadelphia and must be individuals.

More details are available via this PDF. Once you've read through the specifics, you can apply online.

Please email [email protected] if you have questions.


Thanks to your support, we were able to give out 15 Key cards with around $92 - $96 on each card! However, another bus was sent from Texas that had more people, and we'll need to get 15 more cards. Our other goal is to transfer this to the Office of Emergency Management or so that they are able to distribute cards and passes more readily. If you have any ideas on what grant money would be available for Key cards, please let us know by replying to this email or posting it to Slack.


You can help us make a walkable, transit-friendly city for everyone with your financial contributions. Become a 5th Square member today!

Annual Subscriber, $60 per yearMonthly Subscriber, $5 per monthOne Year of Membership, Starting at $60


January 6th Philly Full MOON Happy New Year 2023!

Friday, January 6 at 8:30 PM
Philadelphia Art Museum steps (close to the Rocky Statue) facing Eakins Oval

A Full Moon city tour! The ride may be 10 to 15 miles with 2-3 rest stops. Plans are still in development, so check Twitter or Facebook for updated details.

Going out for New Years via transit? Here are all the service changes:

  Bus MFL BSL Trolley NHSL Reg. Rail
Dec 31st Saturday sched.         Saturday sched. + late trains
Jan 1st Sunday sched. 12am start 12am start Sunday sched. Sunday sched. Sunday sched.
Jan 2nd           Sunday sched.

Regional Rail: Saturday and Sunday service are the same EXCEPT Paoli/Thorndale. Thorndale, Downingtown, Whitford, Exton do not run on Sundays, Holidays or the Special Christmas Schedule.

Bus routes 204, 310, 311 and LUCY will not run on 12/25 or 1/1




5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.

We're an all-volunteer grassroots organization advocating for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and more and better public spaces. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns.

Support our advocacy with a recurring monthly contribution of $5 or more.