Gov. Tom Wolf announced recipients of a new round of funding for housing programs made available through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund. The governor named 214 housing and community development initiatives in 67 counties that will share a portion of the total $45.79 million in PHARE funding. The PHARE fund, which is sometimes referred to as the state Housing Trust Fund, is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
Recipients in Bucks County include: YWCA of Bucks County, $300,000 for housing and supportive services for victims of human trafficking; Bucks County Opportunity Council, $200,000 for Bucks County Housing Opportunities for Reentry Population; Habitat for Humanity Bucks County, $100,000 for Bucks Habitat Home Repair Program; and Bucks County Housing Services Department, $500,000 for Bucks homeless service solutions.
“The PHARE program is successful due to its flexibility and its ability to leverage local partnerships and leadership to effectively address broad housing needs,” Wolf said. “It encourages local organizations and elected officials to come together and jointly decide the best way to enhance their community’s housing stock. PHARE is making a positive difference across the state.”
Funding for the PHARE program comes from three main sources. Since 2012, the program has received a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in the state with the goal of addressing the housing shortage caused by the impact of drilling. That is supplemental with two other funding sources that include a portion of the realty transfer tax and money from the National Housing Trust Fund.
The PHARE funding is expected to impact nearly 2,000 Pennsylvania households through a variety of efforts funding:
– Rental/utility assistance
– Down payment/closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers
– Blight remediation initiatives
– Rental housing preservation and rehabilitation
– Other innovative projects and programs
“The current pandemic has demonstrated just how important affordable housing is and why we need more of it,” said PHFA executive director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “Since its start in 2012, PHARE has proven to be an invaluable funding source to help communities address their most urgent housing needs.”
At least $32.4 million of the $45.79 million allocated will be used to fund housing projects benefiting households with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income. That represents 71 percent of the awarded funding.
A list of the proposals receiving PHARE funding is available here. See the sixth bullet for “Funding Announcements.”