Affordable Housing Listings

Search for subsidized housing units


The Attic Youth Center

(215) 545-4331

Safe space, counseling, job opportunities for LGBTQ youth

Fair Housing Rights Center of Southeastern PA

(215) 625-0200

Info, referrals, resources, advice on fair housing rights

Housing Counseling Agencies

(215) 686-9749

Free counseling for homeowners, tenants, seniors, people with HIV/AIDS


How to Find Your Local Councilperson



Juvenile Law Center

(215) 625-0551

Legal advocacy for youth involved in juvenile and child welfare systems


Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Assistance

(215) 334-4663 – Save Your Home Philly Hotline

Free counseling assistance for homeowners behind on mortgages



(267) 443-2500

Resources and info on tenant rights, and referrals to free legal services


People’s Emergency Center

(215) 382-7523

Affordable housing, childcare, job opportunities, resources


Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging

(215) 765-9040

Programs and resources for elderly residents


Philly Office of Homeless Services + Homeless Outreach

(215) 232-1984

Info on shelters and other resources for people dealing with or facing homelessness


Women Against Abuse

(866) 723-3014 (24 hours)

Resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault


Youth Emergency Services

(215) 787-0633


Youth Matters PHL


Sharswood Online Reading List

To Share other links and resources, please contact us at This list will be updated on our website. 


Sharswood History and Futures

Music and Art

“The Bird Cage Lounge was one block up at Ridge and 16th Street. I don’t know whether it was named after him, but Charlie “Bird” Parker played there. The legendary Pearl Bailey began her singing and dancing career at the Pearl Theater, which was at Ridge and 21st Street.”


“Within eyeshot of the five-way intersection at 23rd Street you would have found half a dozen jazz institutions with smooth names like Spider Kelly and The Point. But today, the only flash from the past is an old “Bar” sign that swings in the light breeze.” 


“In the early 1900s, the Pearl Theater, located at Ridge Avenue and north 21st Street, was Philadelphia's "premiere colored theater." Here, black Philadelphians could see the best African-American musical and vaudeville performers from across the country.”


“The hub for it all in North Philadelphia was Cecil B. Moore Avenue — then Columbia Avenue — between roughly 12th and 19th streets.The stretch was home to some independent businesses, but it was most notable for the dozen or so small clubs that dotted it. Most of the performers were African-American. Some were stars, but a whole lot more were up-and-comers with a whole lot to prove.”


“On June 14, 2013, the Philadelphia Historical Commission added the Dox Thrash House to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, protecting it from inappropriate alterations and unnecessary demolition”


“Born in 1893 in Griffin, Georgia, Thrash fought in France during World War I and studied at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago between 1914 to 1923. After his Chicago years, the artist lived for a time in Boston and New York (during the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance), before settling in Philadelphia around 1926. In 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, Thrash joined Philadelphia's government-sponsored WPA Graphic Arts Workshop as a seasoned printmaker with a taste for experimentation.”

Buildings and Businesses'_Market  


“Black social groups formed throughout North Philadelphia and theaters like the Uptown and later the Freedom, both located on North Broad Street, promoted musical shows featuring gospel, jazz, and other types of performances aimed at African American audiences. North Philadelphia also became a center of black activism as the area’s African American residents fought for better representation and working conditions and against redlining practices that refused housing loans to individuals who lived in areas deemed to be “high risk.” Nevertheless, white flight from North Philadelphia led to increased segregation in the area during the 1950s and the 1960s, decades that also saw the shuttering of many of the factories that North Philadelphia’s residents had long depended upon for work. Each factory closing increased stress on neighborhoods already marred by poverty and growing racial tensions. A low point for North Philadelphia came in 1964 with the Columbia Avenue Riot, which arose out of conflicts between police and North Philadelphia’s African American community. The riots resulted in hundreds of injuries, arrests, and looted businesses, many of which never reopened.” 


Paramount Shoes


“Wilson’s photos depict a city that in many cases looks little changed from the 1950s–or even the 1940s in certain shots. The corner stores are still open, the neon bar signs still lit, the glass in the factory windows still intact. Yet we know now that these neighborhoods were on the brink of massive social and economic change. The slow decline in population that began in 1950 was about to accelerate, and many of the streets we see in Wilson’s photos would soon become a shadow of what they once were.”


Historical Images


Maps and Atlases


Civil Rights and Activism

“Malcolm X moved to Philadelphia in early March of 1954, fresh off his success organizing Temple 11 in Boston. His brief was to energize Temple 12, located at 1643 North Bailey Street, now home to the Holy Ghost Crusade Church. The FBI already had Malcolm under surveillance, and noted his arrival in Philadelphia. One file states that he quickly registered as a longshoreman on the waterfront.” 


“The historical marker is important because 2503 W. Oxford Street is a place where history happened. Malcolm X lived there for about six months in 1954. To be clear, the house does not meet architectural standards for historic properties. Instead, the building has significance in the cultural characteristics of Philadelphia and is associated with a person significant in the past. The building also exemplifies the political, social and cultural heritage of the African American community. What happened at 2503 W. Oxford Street laid the foundation for what is now one of the largest populations of African-American Muslims in the country.” 


“The design includes classroom space for 35 students, solar panels on the roof, an off-the-grid bathroom, a space for healthy cooking demonstrations, and a farmstand where organizers can sell produce and value-added products like pickles to fund  farm operations.”

Malcolm x house proposal

Columbia Avenue Riots

“Amid the chaos of three days on Columbia Avenue, you can see the birth of the two social movements that would come to dominate Philadelphia for much of the next half-century. One was the push for black political empowerment, as African-Americans abandoned timid cooperation with the white political machine and forged their own path, on the streets and later at the ballot box. The other was the quest from the white working class for “law and order,” as a deputy commissioner named Frank Rizzo took control of the riot squad, then the police department, then City Hall.”


“But they had a good fight, a good battle there. And I think that there was something gained but we didn’t appreciate the roughness of it, but it had to be done. It had to be done their way, you know.”


“The violence got so bad that a round-the-clock curfew was imposed.”


“The Columbia Avenue rebellion resulted in two deaths, 339 injuries, including 100 police, and the arrest of 308 people on charges ranging from curfew violations to burglary. The riot exposed the persistence of discrimination and repression faced by Black Philadelphia in spite of gains made during the Civil Rights struggle.”

Sharswood Redevelopment and Gentrification

“Not long after sunrise, the Philadelphia Housing Authority demolished two high-rise towers that are part of the Norman Blumberg Apartments, a half-century old public-housing complex in the city's Sharswood section.”


“And local activists, most notably real estate broker Judith Robinson, continue to criticize the agency for its huge land grab that, she and others assert, denied African-American property owners a chance to cash in on their investments right at the point when organic redevelopment in the neighborhood was picking up. Whether the PHA will get the money to build all of the 1,200 units of housing it took the land for remains very much an open question.”


“What makes this project different–and a source of concern to preservationists–is that PHA will also condemn at least 372 structures, including hundreds of row houses and more than two dozen commercial properties along Ridge Avenue, along with more than a thousand vacant lots spread across 40 city blocks. Although many buildings in the area are dilapidated and not “historic” in a classic sense, Sharswood remains a 19th century row home neighborhood steeped in history spanning from the city’s beer-making heyday to the Jazz Age through to the Civil Rights era.”,-75.158823,39.968306,-75.186288_rect/14_zm/

Quick Glossary

Accessible Housing:  Housing that is accessible and liveable for people living with physical and non-physical disabilities, as well as housing that is practically accessible (for example, no discriminatory barriers for marginalized groups).  (Adapted from National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty).

Affordable Housing: Housing which is considered affordable to those with a median household income, Affordable housing usually means 30% of your income or less toward household expenses, such as rent and utilities. Housing costs should not force people to choose between paying rent and paying for other basic needs. (Adapted from National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty).

Fair Housing: Fair housing is the right to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination. Federal, state and local fair housing laws protect people from discrimination in housing transactions such as rentals, sales, lending, and insurance. (Adapted from

Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children. (via

Housing Instability or Housing Insecurity:  High housing costs in proportion to income, poor housing quality, unstable neighborhoods, overcrowding, or homelessness. (Adapted from the Department of Health and Human Services).

Examples include living in poor housing quality conditions, multiple moves, living doubled up or overcrowded, couch surfing, frequent shelter stays, living in a gentrifying neighborhood, or otherwise at risk of displacement, eviction, foreclosure, or homelessness. (Adapted from Youth HEALers Stand Up!)

Public and Subsidized Housing: Housing funded by the government that is available to low-income individuals at a reduced price. Local housing agencies , such as the Philadelphia Housing Authority, usually determine eligibility, manage the housing, and give aid to tenants to make the housing affordable, or no more than 30% of their income. Nonprofit and private owners may also use, accept, or administer subsidies to make rental units affordable. For example, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8 program, gives tenants a voucher to a give to a private landlord, with the a portion of the rent paid by the housing authority and sent directly to the landlord. The tenant with the voucher pays the reduced portion of rent. low-income housing on the private market. (Adapted from

Temporary or Transitional Housing: Temporary (usually 2 to 24 months, but sometimes longer) supportive housing provided to assist a formerly homeless youth, individual or family in transition to permanent housing. Transitional housing typically includes case management and other services, depending on the needs of the population being served. (Adapted from