Hello and welcome to this edition of the First District Connection.
We are well into fall, the leaves are coming off the trees, the Flyers and Sixers seasons have just started and the Eagles remain competitive in the Eastern Division of the National Football League. It’s going to be an exciting sports year.
Our historical sites and neighborhoods of our city continue to amaze and attract visitors from all over the country and the world. Good things are happening, but we have to stay on top of key issues and deal with problems.
There is plenty that is going on that may be of interest to you. The General Assembly recently concluded the bulk of our legislative work for this two-year session. Lawmakers passed a budget this year that included new dollars for education. We legalized ride-sharing, made critial reforms to the unemployment compenstation law to aid seasonal workers, changed liquor laws and moved sweeping measures to deal with the opioid crisis, plus much more.
Locally, organizations and businesses in my district have received state funding to help with key projects. Recreation opportunities will be enhanced as a state grant is used to connect Strawberry Mansion to the Schuylkill River Trail in East Fairmont Park. Funding was also approved for the development of the Schuylkill Banks South to Christian Trail and the Make Way for Children safety corridor.
Two Center City projects aimed at fostering cultural and economic growth were approved. A total of $3 million was released to modernize and enhance the visitor’s center at Independence National Visitors Park and build a hotel and residences at Broad and Spruce.
Our area of Philadelphia continues to grow and develop. I am pleased to work with you and help you and your families and address problems as they arise.
If you have questions or need help please don’t hesitate to reach out. My staff is available by phone, 215-952-3121, or if you’re in the area, stop by the office at 1802 S. Broad St.
Low Income Heating Assistance Funds Released
The state Department of Human Services has received $185.5 million in federal funding for the 2016-17 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) season. The program provides assistance for home heating bills for low-income Pennsylvanians. It is available to renters and homeowners. Grants for those eligible can go directly to utility companies or home heating fuel providers. The LIHEAP cash and crisis program open November 1. The average help per household was $462 in the 2015-2016 heating season.
Eligibility is set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. The chart below shows the maximum income allowed for eligibility based on household size.
Each additional person in the household adds $6,240 to the maximum income allowed for eligibility.
For more information on the LIHEAP program, or to download an application, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.
Pennsylvania ABLE Act
The ABLE Act was approved earlier this year. The goal of the act is to provide people with disabilities or their families a way to secure their financial future without impacting federal or state benefits. ABLE accounts:
- Promote financial independence;
- Save on taxes;
- Protect eligibility for means-tested federal or state benefits;
- Pay for a range of disability expenses;
- Allow funds to be given without impacting benefits.
You can sign up to receive updates or register for enrollment material on the ABLE Act at PAABLE.gov. PA ABLE Savings Program enrollment begins in December.
This is a wonderful program and a great opportunity to secure your financial future. Please go the website or call my office for more information.
Fall Events in District
Mural Arts Month | September 30 - October 31, 2016
Philadelphia Film Festival | October 20-30, 2016
Each October, Mural Arts Month honors the Mural Arts Program’s more than 3,800 works of public art in different ways. In addition to walking and trolley tours of the Ninth Street Stock Exchange project, neighborhood gardens, mosaics and more, a roster of free and pay-what-you-wish events includes: a one-night-only sound and light installation in the tunnels under the in-development Rail Park with composer Nadia Botello and visual artists Matthew Suib and Nadia Hironaka; the unveiling of Mural Arts’ first rotating outdoor gallery; and, festivals in South Philly, Bartram’s Garden and along the Spring Garden Street Bridge.
Learn More »
The 25th Philadelphia Film Festival showcases the best in independent and foreign cinema in theaters and venues around Philadelphia. Attendees will have the opportunity to take in short films, feature-length films, animated movies and special guest appearances.
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Head of the Schuylkill Regatta | October 29-30, 2016
Bringing together more than 7,000 athletes and upwards of 25,000 spectators, the festive two-day Head of the Schuylkill Regatta features a 2.5-mile rowing race along the scenic Kelly Drive section of the Schuylkill River. College crews, high school crews, master rowers, elite rowers and previous world champions come together for an inclusive event that allows both highly experienced and brand-new rowers to hit the water together. Cheer them on as you take in the picturesque fall regatta.
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South Street Headhouse District Pumpkin Fall Fest | October 29, 2016
Celebrate all things fall at the annual South Street Headhouse District Pumpkin Fall Fest at the historic Headhouse Shambles. Enjoy hay rides, pumpkin painting, crafts, live music and more.
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First Person Arts Festival | November 7-19, 2016
Every November, folks from all walks of life come together to share their stories on stage during the First Person Arts Festival. Past participants have included everyone from musicians Toni Morrison and Talib Kweli to celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson to actress Janeane Garofalo to political activist Angela Davis. Beyond storytelling, the 13-day celebration includes food events, workshops and more.
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Philadelphia Marathon | November 18-20, 2016
With a fast course that winds through the city’s historic downtown, past the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art and along the scenic Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Marathon is one of the country’s premier running events. The weekend also includes an 8K race, half-marathon, a Kids Fun Run and the well-attended Health & Fitness Expo.
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