Pennsylvania Expanding Affordable Housing; Helping People at Risk of Homelessness

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Pennsylvania Capitol Dome

Pennsylvania is expanding the number of affordable housing statewide. It is also providing assistance to thousands of families at risk of homelessness.

On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced new round of funding for housing programs under the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund.

“For many families today, too much of their paycheck goes to housing, leaving little for food, transportation and other necessities. Housing that is affordable is critical for helping families and communities thrive,” said Gov. Wolf.

Additionally, the governor said the PHARE funding will preserve and increase the amount of affordable housing available in Pennsylvania. It will also address unmet community revitalization efforts across the state.

According to Gov. Wolf, 137 housing and community development project in 52 counties will receive a portion of the total $26.6 million in PHARE funding for FY 2017-2018.

Furthermore, the governor said the PHARE funding will produce the following result:

  • 9,269 individuals or families at risk of homelessness will receive rental or utility assistance
  • 385 households will receive home purchase assistance
  • 10,245 households will receive case management, including legal services, financial education and foreclosure prevention resources.
  • rehabilitation and repair of 1,224 homes
  • creation of 803 new rental units
  • construction of 23 new single-family homes
  • acquisition or preparation  of 128 sites for the future construction of 131 homes

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is managing the PHARE Fund. The agency’s staff reported that $20.5 million will be used to fund housing projects. Households with incomes below 50% of the area median income will benefit from the projects.

The PHARE funding comes from the Macellus Shale Fund, the Realty Transfer Tax Fund, and the National Housing Trust Fund.

Pennsylvania low-income housing tax credits

In a separate statement, Gov. Wolf also announced a $3.8 million in PennHOMES funding for the construction of 39 affordable multifamily housing developments.

He also declared conditional awards totaling $43.4 million in low-income housing tax credits to fill the current void in the housing market.

The governor explained, “Low-income housing tax credits make possible the construction of affordable rental housing that otherwise wouldn’t get built.”

He added that the PennHOMES funding will help make people’s lives better given the demand for affordable housing. The developments are expected to add 1,941 rental housing units for Pennsylvania residents.

On the other hand, PHFA CEO and Executive Director Brian Hudson Sr., commented, “When you look at how well these tax credits leverage our public-private partnerships for building affordable housing, the value of this program is unmistakably clear.”