Dramatic Increase in Housing Funds a Key Component of New State Budget
Total investment in affordable housing jumps eight fold, from $55 million a year ago to more than $435 million over the next year
For years before the COVID-19 pandemic ruptured the economy, we saw a growing housing crisis in low-income neighborhoods as gentrification displaced long-time residents and destabilized communities.
The pandemic exacerbated this trend as low-income workers were more subject to job loss than higher income, work-from-home employees. That’s why it was a priority for me to secure dramatic new increases in funding to assess and address this trend from top to bottom.
The new budget dedicates more than $375 million in support of affordable housing compared to just $55 million a year ago. The new funding bolsters existing housing programs and accounts for inflation while creating an innovative new solution for keeping long-time residents in their homes when the cost of maintenance dwarfs their income.
The new budget adds $375 million to the current $55 million to total $435 million for workforce and affordable housing in Pennsylvania.
The spending plan includes $100 million for construction of new affordable housing units, conversion of properties to affordable housing, and an additional $150 million to move projects that were stalled by COVID-19’s impact on construction costs and supply chains.
Over the next few months, we will be working with partners in the community to help them apply for these funds and create new housing opportunities.
For those who own their homes but struggle to keep up with repairs, I was proud to co-sponsor legislation crafted by Sen. Nikil Saval to create the $125 million Whole Home Repairs Program. This will make money available to homeowners who in the past would be forced to sell to avoid costly but necessary upgrades to roofs, electrical systems, weatherization, and plumbing.
The program will not only provide grants of up to $50,000, but it will also help homeowners navigate the permit process and provide training for community members who want to help with repairs.