Penn Housing Fair Addresses West Philly Displacement

In the summer, when students lounge in the shade on Locust Walk and enjoy the buzz of campus life, it seems like their time at Penn will be a permanent one. But for many, that isn’t the case. Their four years here will pass quickly, and when they leave, they will return to a home that may be far from the picturesque college dorms of their undergraduate days.Source:

Where do most freshman live at UPenn?

The university’s mandated on-campus housing is supposed to provide a supportive community and foster student learning, but the buildings that house them often fall short. Leaks, flooding and displacement disrupt study and sleep schedules, leaving students less prepared for midterms and finals. Prolonged disruptions at 3 a.m., like those experienced by residents of Harnwell, make it impossible for students to concentrate and learn.

There is an element of truth to the argument that, historically, Penn has been complicit in gentrification and displacement in West Philly. But when protestors link that to the UC Townhomes site, they’re entering wishful thinking land.

The University has taken steps to help address this issue, including a new housing incentive program and enhanced Guaranteed Mortgage Program that offer financial assistance for faculty and staff who buy homes in the neighborhood. The University is also hosting a fair for people who are interested in buying property in the area, which will be attended by real estate agents, bankers and credit counselors. To learn more about the programs, visit a Penn Housing Fair on Thursday, May 6. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall.

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