Pennsylvania’s Budget Proposal Targets Housing Insecurity with New Investments

ACTION-HousingCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PITTSBURGH, PADepartment of Human Services Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh and Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato visited Pittsburgh’s non-profit ACTION-Housing on Friday to discuss significant new investments in Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2024-25 proposed budget. The budget aims to address housing insecurity and homelessness with the first new state funding in more than a decade dedicated to eviction prevention, rental assistance, and other housing stability resources.

“A person’s home and living circumstances have a fundamental impact on their physical and mental health, overall wellbeing, and their sense of dignity,” said Secretary Arkoosh. “As we seek to expand and invest in programs that help improve a person’s quality of life and help people on a path to economic stability, accessible and affordable housing is essential. Governor Shapiro’s proposed investments will provide counties with more resources to support those navigating a housing crisis and keep Pennsylvanians safely and stably housed.”

Governor Shapiro’s budget proposes a $10 million increase in the Homeless Assistance Program (HAP). This boost aims to provide counties with more resources and greater flexibility to help people experiencing or at risk of homelessness find housing, prevent evictions, and address local housing needs. This new investment builds off the success of the pandemic Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

Moreover, the budget allocates an additional $6.84 million to bolster legal aid services throughout the Commonwealth, earmarking $5 million exclusively for representation in possible eviction cases. Additionally, it outlines a $50 million provision for the Whole Home Repairs initiative, offering direct support to homeowners for essential repairs or adjustments to enable them to stay in their residences.

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ACTION-Housing, one of Pennsylvania’s oldest and largest housing-based non-profits, serves thousands annually in the greater Pittsburgh area. The organization offers rental assistance, Whole Home Repairs, and programs for youth aged out of foster care. It also manages properties like Second Avenue Commons and various Single Resident Occupancy facilities targeting individuals at the highest risk of homelessness.

“ACTION has the privilege of stabilizing current housing and providing safe shelter for thousands annually in the Pittsburgh region, but that work is at risk as COVID era funds dry up, while the needs continue,” said Larry Swanson, ACTION-Housing Executive Director. “With the proposed expansion of HAP and other funding in the Governor’s budget, those organizations on the front lines will have the ability to not just maintain our current levels of support but expand it to target high-risk populations and ensure every Pennsylvanian has the ability to stay in their homes and be connected to the resources they need to stay housed.”

The proposed budget’s multiple investments aim to create the stability needed for individuals to achieve success and better health. People experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity face greater health risks and higher rates of behavioral health concerns. Providing stable housing is seen as a critical step toward improving these outcomes.

Governor Shapiro’s budget aims to address housing instability comprehensively, combining direct financial support with legal aid and home repair initiatives. If approved, these investments could significantly impact the lives of many Pennsylvanians struggling with housing insecurity.

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