Governor Wolf Announces 2019 PHARE Funding to Support Affordable Housing Across Pennsylvania
July 11, 2019
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. 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 Governor 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,
• 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.
A list of the proposals receiving PHARE funding, often referred to as the state’s Housing Trust Fund, is available at www.phfa.org/legislation/act105.aspx. See the fifth bullet for “Funding Announcements.”
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 $14.3 billion of funding for more than 176,600 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 134,507 rental units, and saved the homes of nearly 49,900 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.