PHILADELPHIA – OCT. 18, 2021 – The Philadelphia 76ers today announced it has awarded a $100,000 community grant to Clarifi, a local financial and housing counseling agency serving Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley that offers services and resources to promote homeownership and wealth creation. The grant is part of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment’s (HBSE, the parent company of the 76ers) commitment to racial equality. The grant was matched 1:1 from the William Penn Foundation’s Family Recovery Fund, resulting in $200,000 to Clarifi.
The 76ers is partnering with Clarifi and the Lower North Philadelphia Community Development Corporation (LNPCDC) to promote homeownership and wealth creation for long-time residents of the North Philadelphia community of Sharswood, which is 72-percent Black and where nearly half the residents live below the poverty line. Philadelphia has a high homeownership rate compared to other large cities at 53-percent, but Black homeownership remains stuck at 38-percent. The grants will fund:
- Community counseling for eviction and foreclosure prevention;
- Housing transition and displacement counseling;
- Home repair assessments and access; and Affordability grants to help homeowners stay in place through repairs or, in select circumstances, buy new homes.
To date, the grant has helped provide 145 housing counseling sessions to 113 unique individuals in the Sharswood neighborhood. The grant was designed to complement the investment of HBSE in Sharswood Ridge, a mixed-use, mixed-income development that broke ground last fall, led by Mosaic Development Partners and the Philadelphia Housing Authority.“Historically, long-term residents in predominantly Black neighborhoods have not benefited when their neighborhood appreciates. When we invested in Sharswood Ridge last year, we knew we were supporting a project that was designed to both revitalize Sharswood while also promoting housing affordability. Clarifi’s mission of combating displacement and facilitating wealth creation for underserved residents across Philadelphia is exactly the type of work we want to support. This first grant, generously matched by the William Penn Foundation and with the support of the Lower North Philadelphia CDC, is another step in our journey to fighting systemic racism and uplifting all communities,” said David Gould, Philadelphia 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer. “Keeping people housed is paramount to the vibrancy of a community. Not only does an eviction or foreclosure significantly increase the risk of chronic homelessness, it is also proven to exacerbate mental health issues like clinical depression. To add to this, homeownership is one of the very few sustainable avenues that families, especially families of color, have to build and pass on wealth to the next generation. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Philadelphia 76ers and the William Penn Foundation to do this urgent work of keeping families housed and Sharswood vibrant,” said Clarifi Executive Director Steve Gardner. “Only by working together as businesses, community organizations, and families, can we turn the tide on intergenerational poverty.” “The Sharswood area is currently one of Philadelphia’s most impoverished communities in the city. Lower North Philadelphia CDC is working to empower residents with the tools to understand their value to acquire affordable housing, build financial stability, and to build a legacy of wealth in order to keep black communities vibrant. We are excited that Clarifi and the 76ers are supporting that work alongside us in this community,” said Darnetta Arce, Executive Director of the Lower North Philadelphia Community Development Corporation. “We very much appreciate these investments in the Sharswood community and residents of North Philadelphia,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), who represents the community in City Council. “The most important investment our residents will ever make is owning their own home, and the counseling provided by Clarifi is a tool that people can use to achieve home ownership, and in some cases, ensure that nothing happens to take that valuable asset away from them. We thank Josh Harris, David Blitzer, the 76ers, and the William Penn Foundation for their support of Clarifi’s work, and for their faith and belief in the people of North Philadelphia.” This grant is part of HBSE’s pledge it made last year to help address disparities created as a result of structural and systemic racism, with a focus on supporting efforts that improve resident quality of life and further equitable development in Black communities.