Gov Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf recently 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 211 housing and community development initiatives in 67 counties that will share a portion of the total $51.2 million in PHARE funding for fiscal year 2018-19.

The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

“A major advantage of the PHARE program is that the decisions on how the funding should be spent are driven locally,” said Wolf. “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.”

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 supplemented with two major new funding sources that include a portion of the realty transfer tax and money from the National Housing Trust Fund.

Today’s PHARE funding is expected to impact more than 2,500 Pennsylvania households through a variety of efforts funding:

• Rental/utility assistance,

• Down payment/closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers,

• Blight remediation initiatives,

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• Rental housing preservation and rehabilitation, and

• Other innovative projects and programs.

“If you look at how the PHARE funding is spent, the uses are varied across rental housing and homeownership,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Brian A. Hudson Sr.

“Communities know best what their local housing needs are, and we rely entirely on their requests when determining how best to allocate this funding.”

PHFA staff reports that at least $36.6 million of the $51.2 million allocated today 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.