Governor Wolf Announces 2021 PHARE Funding to Support Affordable Housing Across Pennsylvania
$44.9 million will fund 223 housing initiatives in all 67 counties
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 223 housing and community development initiatives in 67 counties that will share a portion of the total $44.9 million in PHARE funding for fiscal year 2020-21. The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
“Over the last nine years, the PHARE program has proven to be popular because local organizations and leaders determine how best to spend the funds to address their housing needs,” said Governor Wolf. “The funding may come from Harrisburg, but its application to improve housing is driven locally, which is why it is so effective.”
Funding for these PHARE awards comes from two 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 funding provided by a portion of the realty transfer tax. The PHARE fund is often referred to as the state’s Housing Trust Fund.
Today’s PHARE funding is expected to impact more than 3,300 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
“What I find most impressive about PHARE is the wide variety of ways the funding is used to address local housing challenges,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “The recipients of PHARE funding in each county know their housing needs best, so they direct the money to address pressing housing concerns in ways that will do the most good.”
PHFA staff reports that at least $30.1 million of the $44.9 million allocated today will be used to fund housing projects benefiting households with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income. That represents 67 percent of the awarded funding.
A list of the proposals receiving PHARE funding is available at www.phfa.org/legislation/act105.aspx. See the 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 $15.2 billion of funding for more than 182,570 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 138,000 rental units, distributed approximately 191 million to support local housing initiatives, and saved the homes of nearly 50,400 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.