Community Development:

Information on the Efforts by the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Relocate and Compensate Residents of the Logan Triangle Area

RCED-00-165R: Published: Jun 9, 2000. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2000.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Stanley J. Czerwinski
(202) 512-6520
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the city of Philadelphia's efforts to relocate and compensate Logan Triangle Area residents whose homes are sinking into a landfill, focusing on the: (1) status of relocations of property owners and tenants; and (2) management challenges the Logan Assistance Corporation faces in completing the remaining relocations.

GAO noted that: (1) as of December 31, 1999, the Corporation had relocated and compensated 499 Logan Triangle property owners and tenants; (2) the remaining 215 eligible property owners who have not been relocated or compensated by the Corporation consist of: (a) 186 owners who moved on their own without receiving compensation; and (b) 29 owners with occupied properties; (3) according to a March 2000 Relocation Plan authorized by the Corporation, it will cost an estimated $15.2 million to complete the relocation and compensation effort over the next 3 years; (4) in addition to the 714 owners and tenants eligible to receive relocation benefits, there are an additional 193 ineligible properties (for which relocation benefits cannot be paid under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act) remaining in the Logan Triangle, as of December 31, 1999; (5) of these 193 ineligible properties, 175 were unoccupied and mostly vacant lots because of demolition, and 18 were occupied by either homeowners or tenants; (6) the Corporation faces several management challenges in completing the remaining 215 eligible relocations and compensations; (7) according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city is obligated under the Uniform Relocation Act to compensate some, if not all, of the 186 former eligible Logan Triangle property owners who moved on their own without receiving compensation; (8) in order to do so, the city must locate these property owners, which may be difficult, particularly if these owners moved out of town or out of state; (9) if the city decides to retain the Corporation to perform this task, the Corporation may need to hire additional staff with investigative skills to locate these owners or contract out for this type of service; (10) also, assisting and convincing the remaining 29 eligible property owners to sell their properties has been a problem for the Corporation because most of these owners have poor credit histories, multiple property liens, and lower incomes because of a disability or retirement; (11) as of March 22, 2000, about $2.4 million was available to the Corporation to pay for housing acquisitions, relocations, and administrative costs; and (12) the Corporation faces management challenges in completing the remaining relocations because: (a) there is no agreed time frame to locate and compensate the 186 eligible property owners who previously vacated their properties; and (b) their office space is in poor condition, which makes it difficult to retain qualified staff.

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