Monday, December 27, 2010

PA Looks For Federal Housing Dollars

Affordable housing advocates are praising a new state law establishing a fund to help low-income renters and home buyers, but the account won’t have much money, unless federal lawmakers act. The fund relies on a law pending in Congress that would provide $1 Billion nation wide. Between $40 and $50 million is expected to be allocated to Pennsylvania. The fund would go toward Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency efforts. Executive director Brian Hudson says the money would be especially helpful in rural areas whose economies are changing due to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. “Rentals literally have gone through the roof. Where properties were renting for $500, they’re getting 15-hundred dollars. And they’re displacing the tenants, the renters, who were from that community, “ says Hudson. Hudson says even if Congress doesn’t approve funding, he’ll work to solicit private contributions from individuals and companies, including natural gas drillers. However, he says they need the money now, “So we can go in and build where the community needs rental housing. Be that soft money to get it started. If it needs a Laundromat, a grocery store, a bakery – those are the pieces we found that turn communities around.”

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