Philadelphia, PA – November 30, 2023 − Senator Vincent Hughes, Democratic Appropriations Chair, stood with fellow lawmakers and affordable housing leaders to celebrate a new, affordable housing grant program that awarded $98 million dollars to projects that will preserve, maintain, and build new affordable rental units throughout Pennsylvania.
“As a result of a collective effort between state, local, and federal leadership, we created a brand-new stream of investments for affordable housing,” said Senator Hughes. “The $98 million that was distributed through the Housing Options Program will keep rental units and communities affordable. This new funding enables Pennsylvania to maintain and build a total of over 3,000 rental homes in communities they might otherwise be priced out of.”
Senator Hughes worked with lawmakers, including former Governor Tom Wolf and current Governor Josh Shapiro, to create the new Housing Options program that will ultimately deter gentrification and ensure low-income individuals are not priced out of neighborhoods that have grown and developed over the years.
“Here in the Commonwealth, we’re focused on creating real opportunity – and that has to start with a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “That’s why my Administration is using critical American Rescue Plan funding for the Housing Options Grant Program to help build more affordable housing for renters. My Administration is committed to working with PHFA to address rising costs and to find ways to help more Pennsylvanians stay in their homes.”
The Housing Options Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and funded with federal American Rescue Plan dollars. Grants were awarded to 66 projects. In Philadelphia, over $39.7 million dollars is being invested to preserve and build over 1,000 affordable rental units.
The press conference was held in West Philadelphia at the Cloisters III, a recipient of a HOP grant. Senator Hughes was joined by Congressman Dwight Evans; Chris Johnson from Senator Bob Casey’s Office; Senator Sharif Street; Senator Tim Kearney; Mayor Jim Kenney; PHFA Board Member John Paone; Philadelphia Councilmember Jaime Gauthier; PACDC Executive Director Rick Sauer; and Pennrose CEO Mark Dambly.
While Senator Hughes and his colleagues celebrated the new funding, they noted Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole need to continue to make affordable housing investments a priority in the Commonwealth.
According to Harvard’s latest State of the Nation’s Housing report, the supply of low-cost rentals fell by 3.9 million units over the last decade. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports for every 100 very low-income households, only 36 affordable rentals are available.