When Senator Hughes led the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus on a monthlong focus on poverty and economic insecurity in April, one thing became incredibly clear: Pennsylvanians all across the commonwealth are struggling because of a lack of quality, affordable housing.
The Keystone State is in the middle of the pack for housing affordability, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which estimates that the average wage to afford a two-bedroom housing unit is $19.35 per hour. That’s nearly three times the paltry federal minimum wage that hasn’t been changed in 10 years. Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour and the wage increase has the support of most Pennsylvanians, but the Republican-controlled General Assembly has fought progress for the people.
Senator Hughes knows raising the minimum wage isn’t the only solution to this problem. It’s why he declared 40 percent increase to the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund one of the most important victories in the 2019-20 budget. Senator Hughes wants to continue investing in the program to help increase access to initiatives of this kind.
It’s also why he spent a great deal of the summer announcing investments in the 7th Senatorial District that will bring affordable housing to low-income individuals, seniors and for people with other extenuating circumstances. These investments came through various state initiatives aimed at developing our communities, so that people have stable living situations and can in turn invest in the communities where they live.
The senator’s goal with these programs is to increase their investments and use them as a tool for economic growth that is focused on the people. He has other major policy solutions on the horizon that aim to shift the way Pennsylvania approaches affordable housing and makes it a leader in the field.
The investments we highlighted in the 7th Senatorial District are just the tip of the iceberg – if we make a commitment to rebuilding our communities through the #NewDeal4NewPA. Join the senator in his fight to provide a better Pennsylvania here!