Skip to Main Content

Urban Dynamics (SOC 0861)

A Guide to Resources


Compiled by



Group 1: Office of Housing and Urban Development, Philadelphia Regional Office

HUD's mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD embraces high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forges new partnerships--particularly with faith-based and community organizations--that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level. The Office of Housing provides vital public services through its nationally administered programs. It oversees the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the largest mortgage insurer in the world, as well as regulates housing industry business. The mission of the Office of Housing is to contribute to building and preserving healthy neighborhoods and communities, maintain and expand homeownership, rental housing and healthcare opportunities, and stabilize credit markets in times of economic disruption.

Group 2: Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness

PCEH addresses homelessness in Philadelphia by providing a Day Center, doing outreach, and engaging in education and conferences. They provide immediate services for homeless individuals intended to help them maintain self-respect and make progress in overcoming their personal struggles with homelessness. In addition, they operate a Safe Home program that utilizes a housing first approach aimed at placing homeless individuals in permanent homes while providing case management and community-based social services to prevent them from becoming homeless again.

Group 3: The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

HIAS is the migration service of Philadelphia which houses most of the political refuges that are relocated to Philadelphia. HIAS was originally founded to provide services to Jewish immigrants and refugees fleeing persecution and seeking opportunity by migrating to America, but now offers its services to those from all nations. Based on the Jewish value of welcoming the stranger, HIAS and Council continues to represent, resettle (house), and reunite Jewish and all immigrants and refugees residing in Philadelphia and surrounding counties who are of limited means. The agency seeks the fair treatment and full integration into American society of migrants from all backgrounds.

Group 4: Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing (OSH)

The Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) is the public entity charged with the policy, planning and coordination of the City’s response to homelessness. Major areas of work include the coordination of the Homeless Continuum of Care and implementation of Philadelphia’s Recalibrated Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. OSH offers a wide array of services including emergency, transitional and supportive housing to individuals, couples and families. OSH’s mission is to assist individuals and families in moving towards independent living and self-sufficiency in safe and stable housing through Philadelphia’s homeless continuum of care.

Group 5: Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD)

Philadelphia’s OHCD is the main distributor of Community Development Block Grants provided by the federal government. Philadelphia is a designated “entitlement community” and thus, receives direct CDBG funds from the federal government. The primary objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low- and moderate-income. Funds typically go to local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development. The Philadelphia OHCD holds public meetings to solicit input from the community, ensuring that proposed projects are aligned with the community's most urgent needs.

Group 6: Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN)

The Interfaith Hospitality Network is committed to helping homeless families to achieve lasting independence by providing safe, temporary housing, meals and support services to homeless families through congregations in the community. Their goal is to provide the programs and services necessary to address the underlying causes of homelessness and to return their client families to a self-sustaining life. IHN brings social service agencies together with congregations of all faiths to provide basic needs – regardless of a family’s race or religion – to help that family become self-sufficient again.

Group 7: Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission

The Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission addresses unfair and discriminatory rental practices. A tenant may file a complaint with the Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission if rent is current and the tenant is being threatened with illegal eviction, if a landlord is raising rent while housing code violations exist, if another term of a lease is being violated, or to stop a landlord from retaliating against a tenant for reporting housing code violations to the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I). In addition, the Commission seeks to prevent discriminatory practices in the rental market.

Group 8: Tenant Union Representative (TURN)

The mission of the Tenant Union Representative Network is to advance and defend the rights and interests of tenants and homeless people. Their goal is to guarantee to all Philadelphians equal access to safe, decent, accessible, and affordable housing. They advocate on behalf of tenants and homeless people to guarantee their rights to decent and affordable housing and organize their members, tenant groups, communities, community leaders, and others to fight for justice in housing and assure fair treatment and respect for tenants and homeless people. They also provide services such as financial assistance, social services, and information and referral services, in ways which organize and empower tenants and homeless people to advance their housing rights for themselves and their families, and allow them to access and maintain decent housing.

Group 9: Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCRP)

The Women’s Community Revitalization Project is committed to social and economic justice for low-income women and their families. They develop housing and neighborhood facilities; provide supportive services; advocate for policy change; and honor leadership, dignity, and equity in our communities. They are particularly concerned with the lack of affordable housing. The Women’s Community Revitalization Project builds and operates affordable housing developments from start to finish: finding the sites, designing the houses, raising the money, managing construction and making sure that the women and families who live there become part of a strong and vibrant community.

Group 10: Steve Honeyman (Community Organizing)

Group 11: Building Industry Association of Philadelphia (BIA)

The BIA is the leading association promoting residential development and construction in the city. They seek to expand the city’s housing market, paying particular attention to policies that promote middle-income housing. In addition, they promote housing affordability by reducing construction costs. They have become a leader in the real estate development industry by taking on the big issues of the city. The BIA educates its members and policymakers through its forum including BIA’s Annual Housing Conference. They also work with local housing agencies and CDCs to promote skills of minority workers.

Group 12: People's Emergency Center (PEC)

People’s Emergency Center (PEC) nurtures families, strengthens neighborhoods, and drives change by increasing equity and opportunity throughout their entire community. They provide comprehensive supportive services to homeless women and their children, revitalize their West Philadelphia neighborhood, and advocate for social justice. More recently, they have developed People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation and entered community real estate. PECCDC acquires, sells, rents, rehabilitates and manages properties in the West Philadelphia community in which PEC carries out its programs and services.

Group 13: The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

The mission of The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, especially those with low incomes, have access to safe, decent and affordable homes. The Housing Alliance is a growing and influential membership organization, with over 500 organizational and individual affiliates statewide. Most of their members are housing consumers, advocates, producers, policy makers, or local government officials. Members are directly involved in the Alliance by helping set the agenda, elect leadership, and shape action all the while representing the needs of their communities. Their efforts are aimed at improving state housing policy. The individual views of their members are forged into a single, effective, persistent voice for the affordable housing needs and interests of rural, urban and suburban communities across the state.

Group 14: Association Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM)

APM, Inc. (located just blocks from Temple!) is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia area through community development and a comprehensive array of life-improving social services. They assess and institute meaningful remedies for societal problems prevalent in today’s cities. They create job opportunities, aid people with debilitating illnesses, revitalize neighborhoods, and support families and individuals. They have a long history of fighting for the betterment of the community, advancing an agenda that benefits our community and society as a whole.

Group 15: Project H.O.M.E.

Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, Education) empowers people to break the cycle of homelessness, address the structural causes of poverty, and attain their fullest potential as members of society. Project H.O.M.E. achieves its mission through a continuum of care comprised of street outreach, a range of supportive housing, and comprehensive services. They address the root causes of homelessness through neighborhood-based affordable housing, economic development, and environmental enhancement programs, as well as through providing access to employment opportunities; adult and youth education; and health care. Project H.O.M.E. is committed to social and political advocacy. An integral part of their work is education about the realities of homelessness and poverty and vigorous advocacy on behalf of and with homeless and low-income persons for more just and humane public policies.

Group 16: Pathways to Housing

As originators of the Housing First model, Pathways to Housing seeks to transform individual lives by ending homelessness and supporting recovery for those with psychiatric disabilities.  They believe housing is a basic human right, and aspire to change the practice of homeless services. The Housing First model is simple: provide housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment. Housing is provided in apartments scattered throughout a community in the Pathways model. This "scattered site" model is said to foster a sense of home and self-determination, and help speed the reintegration of Pathways’ clients into the community.

Subject Specialist

Profile Photo
Rick Lezenby
Charles Library