Pennsylvania Allocates $64.8 Million to Boost Affordable Housing Efforts

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA)

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) announced the recipients of $64.8 million in funding for housing programs under the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund. This significant investment will support 322 housing and community development projects across all 67 counties in the state for fiscal year 2023-24.

“A major advantage of the PHARE program is that the decisions on how the funding should be spent are driven locally,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “Local municipalities determine how the funding can best preserve and expand the availability of affordable housing, and then they apply to PHARE to meet those needs. It’s a system that works.”

The PHARE fund, often referred to as the state’s Housing Trust Fund, receives its funding from two main sources. Since 2012, the program has benefited from a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in Pennsylvania. These fees aim to address housing shortages caused by drilling activities. Additionally, the fund is supplemented by a share of the realty transfer tax revenue.

Impact of PHARE Funding

The latest round of PHARE funding is set to make a substantial impact on Pennsylvania households through a variety of affordable housing efforts. Key initiatives include:

  • Creation of 169 new affordable housing units.
  • Preservation or rehabilitation of 1,181 existing affordable housing units.
  • Rehabilitation or preservation of 900 units through 4% tax credit projects.
  • Construction of 61 new single-family homes.
  • Development or rehabilitation of 227 housing units for households at risk of homelessness.
  • Provision of down payment and closing cost assistance to 316 potential new homebuyers.
  • Delivery of housing counseling and financial education to over 6,900 families/households.
  • Assistance to more than 14,000 families/households at risk of homelessness with rent, utility, and transportation costs.
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PHFA staff highlighted that at least $43.2 million, or 66% of the allocated $64.8 million, will benefit households with incomes below 50% of the area median income.

Addressing Housing Affordability: PHARE Program Making a Difference in Communities

Affordable housing remains a pressing issue in many communities. By targeting funds where local needs are greatest, the PHARE program empowers municipalities to address specific challenges, whether it’s creating new housing, preserving existing units, or assisting those at risk of homelessness.

This localized approach ensures that solutions are tailored to each community’s unique circumstances. For example, areas affected by natural gas drilling might prioritize different housing needs compared to urban centers facing gentrification pressures.

The implications of these investments are profound. Affordable housing provides stability for families, reduces homelessness, and supports economic mobility. It also strengthens communities by improving living conditions and fostering neighborhood revitalization.

Furthermore, the focus on households with incomes below 50% of the area median income ensures that the most vulnerable populations receive the support they need. This commitment to equity and inclusion is crucial for addressing systemic disparities in housing access.

As Pennsylvania continues to grapple with housing affordability, the PHARE fund serves as a vital tool for mitigating these challenges. The recent allocation demonstrates the state’s dedication to ensuring that every resident has a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home.

For a detailed list of the proposals receiving PHARE funding, please visit the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website.

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