Ward Announces Housing Assistance Grants for Area Communities

HARRISBURG – Four projects to support housing for low-income community residents were recently awarded in Blair, Franklin and Huntingdon counties, according to Senator Judy Ward (R-30).

A $75,000 grant will benefit Family Services, Inc. in Blair County to assist in the construction of six residential apartments at the organization’s North Branch Avenue Shelter Apartment Development. The project is intended to provide safe, affordable housing for homeless residents.

A $50,000 award was also announced for the Blair County Housing Assistance Program to provide financial assistance to households struggling to pay for necessary water and sewer system upgrades. Assistance will include on-lot system repairs, tape fees, basement re-plumbing and improvement to malfunctioning systems.

A $150,000 grant for Tharp Community Development, LLC, will expand affordable rental housing options for low-income residents in Franklin County through the purchase of a building providing two family units and two shared units with 4 rooms each to serve 8 or more people who were formerly homeless.

A $100,000 grant will help the Center for Community Action in Huntingdon County convert a school into apartments/housing for 23 low-income seniors.

The grants were awarded through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), which was created in 2010 to assist with the creation, rehabilitation and support of affordable housing throughout Pennsylvania. Funding for the grants is provided by the impact fee charged on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region, the state’s existing Realty Transfer Tax, and the National Housing Trust Fund.

“Finding and maintaining affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges that low-income individuals and families face in local communities,” Ward said. “I appreciate the fact that these grants will offer a helping hand to families in need and help set more community residents on a path toward becoming more financially secure and self-sufficient.”

The cap on the program was expanded from $25 million to $40 million as part of the most recent state budget agreement that lawmakers approved last month.

CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

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