Governor Wolf Announces New PHARE Funding to Support Affordable Housing across Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced recipients of a new round of funding for housing programs made available through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund. This funding is a portion of the Realty Transfer Tax earmarked through Act 58 of 2015 to support affordable housing statewide. The funding collected during the past fiscal year totals $12.03 million.

PHFA staff working on the PHARE program received and evaluated 140 proposals requesting support for housing initiatives in 49 counties. Governor Wolf today announced that 68 housing programs in 38 counties would receive allocations from this portion of PHARE funding.

“When we fund affordable housing, we not only help families with this basic need, but we also promote economic development through the construction work that’s stimulated,” said Governor Wolf. “The demand for affordable housing continues to outpace the housing stock that’s available, so the funding made available today will help address this critical unmet need.”

Since 2012, the PHARE 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 this new industry. These funds, however, can only be used to assist projects in counties that have working natural gas wells. The new RTT-based funding can be used to support projects in any of the state’s 67 counties.

Today’s PHARE funding is expected to produce the following results:

  • 3,052 individuals or families will receive rental or utility assistance
  • 408 homes will be rehabilitated or repaired
  • 756 new rental units will be created
  • 40 new single-family homes will be constructed
  • Sites will be acquired or prepared for the future construction of 52 homes
  • 20 households will received home purchase assistance

“I want to thank Governor Wolf and the state legislature for the passage and signing of Act 58, which has made all this possible,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Brian A. Hudson Sr. “This funding will be used to leverage another $214.7 million in public and private monies, creating a much larger impact well beyond today’s initial investment of PHARE/RTT dollars. Many families and communities will be helped by this additional funding.”

PHFA staff report that $9.4 million of the $12.03 allocated today will be used to fund housing projects benefiting households with income 50 percent below the area median income (AMI). This represents 78.1 percent of the awarded funding.

A list of the proposals receiving PHARE/RTT funding is available at: www.phfa.org/legislation/act105.aspx. Look under the subhead for the Realty Transfer Tax Fund.

Editor’s Note: The PHARE fund is also often referred to as the state’s Housing Trust Fund.

About PHFA

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency works to provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. Through its carefully managed mortgage programs and investments in multifamily housing developments, PHFA also promotes economic development across the state. Since its creation by the legislature in 1972, it has generated more than $13.1 billion of funding for nearly 167,400 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 132,531 rental units, and saved the homes of more than 48,800 families from foreclosure. PHFA programs and operations are funded primarily by the sale of securities and from fees paid by program users, not by public tax dollars. The agency is governed by a 14-member board.