Allegheny County, June 17, 2024 – Programs that address affordable housing needs in the 42nd Senatorial District will receive state grants totaling $1,850,000 state Sen. Wayne Fontana announced today.

“I am pleased to see state investment into such impactful programs,” Fontana said. “This money goes directly towards the construction, rehabilitation, downpayments, and rent assistance that will make a huge difference in peoples’ lives. This is government and nonprofits working together to improve our communities and I’m proud to support it.”

The grants are made available through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund, which is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. 

Funding for the 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 state’s Realty Transfer Tax. The PHARE Fund is often referred to as the state’s Housing Trust Fund. 

Overall, PHFFA announced 322 awards in all 67 counties totaling $64.8 million. At least 66 percent of the total awards will be used to fund projects benefiting households with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income.

The winners of grant awards are:

Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, Allegheny County’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Expansion
$300,000 for a multi-organization collaboration to expand the Alternative Dispute Resolution program in Allegheny County, increasing mediation access, and stabilizing housing for a greater number of county residents. The process utilized allows mediation, resource navigation, and legal aid organizations to ensure that landlords and tenants are equipped to resolve their housing dispute sustainably, while also avoiding the costs and harms associated with an eviction filing.

Amani Christian Community Development Corporation, Ledlie Street Townhomes Phase I and 3426 Webster Avenue
$150,000 for the Ledlie St. Townhomes Phase I development, the modular construction of two 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath townhomes in the Middle Hill District, and the full rehab of 3426 Webster Ave., a blighted property in the Upper Hill District. Both projects will increase the inventory of affordable housing in the Greater Hill District and serve as a catalyst for infill housing development to ensure that there are high-quality housing opportunities for Hill District residents.

Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, Inc., Growing and Maintaining Black Generational Housing Equity in Allegheny County
$250,000 to provide low- and moderate-income new homebuyers and existing low-income homeowners comprehensive trauma-informed financial education. There will be a specific focus on the Revitalizing Neighborhoods and Increasing Homeownership initiative. Additionally, Catapult will launch its Equity Protection Division that will include a Tangled Title Clinic and Home Repair program for existing low-income homeowners.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, St. Joseph House of Hospitality
$125,000 to help fund the only year-round men’s residential program of its kind in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The St. Joseph House offers private, furnished rooms to men 50 years or older with limited income who are homeless or near homelessness. One of the primary things that distinguishes SJHH from other residential programs is that there are no limitations on the length of stay for residents. The average length of stay for residents is currently 3.9 years.

City of Bridges CLT, Buyer Initiated Grant Program
$125,000 to continue the successful Buyer Initiated Program, which to date has seen 71% of beneficiaries be people of color, and support CBCLT’s efforts to pilot the creation of an owner-initiated program to support long-time, low-income homeowners. These programs could create 9 permanently affordable homes for as little subsidy as $40,000 per home.

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, Safe and Health Homes in the Hill District III
$150,000 to repair and rehabilitate 10 owner-occupied homes in the Hill District, making a substantial contribution to ongoing revitalization efforts. Beyond physical repairs, the program prioritizes creating safe, healthy, and accessible homes, aligning with a mission to transform living conditions and enhance the overall well-being of the community.

Rising Tide Partners, Affordable Homeownership for Long-Term Tenants
$200,000 to rehabilitate ten single-family homes for affordable homeownership opportunities in Northside neighborhoods and to rehabilitates one duplex for long-term affordable rental.

Second Avenue Commons, Inc., Second Avenue Commons Homeless Assistance
$200,000 to expand the efforts to help individuals experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County find and sustain housing. The Second Avenue Commons Homelessness Assistance (SACHA) program specifically targets individuals who are preparing to move into permanent housing by providing financial support during a transitional period.

The Jubilee Association, LLC., Strengthening the Preventing Homelessness Program and Path to Stability and Self-Sufficiency Initiatives
$50,000 to expand the Preventing Homelessness & Path to Stability and Self-Sufficiency Initiatives to combat homelessness by preventing it in the first place, providing financial support to avoid evictions, prevent utilities from being turned off, and other life-altering crises. Funding will provide service to more families & individuals, helping to meet short-term financial needs & stabilize their longer-term economic stability, while working to meet their emotional needs and well-being.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Homeownership Program
$200,000 to promote first time homebuyer education and sound financial management principles to provide increased access to asset building methodologies in underrepresented communities. By equipping individual and families with the strategies needed to build generational wealth, the Urban League is empowering constituents to move along the continuum of economic stability to become self-sufficient.

Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment, WAVE Housing Counseling Services
$100,000 to create housing and economic stability for at risk individuals in low-income communities through personal empowerment, skill set development, problem solving, and wealth building. WAVE’s REPS program is unique and involves a mediation with the tenant and the landlord. As part of the agreement, tenants must agree to participate in life skills workshops. WAVE will pay monthly toward rent arrears for those who maintain current rent payments and attend life skills workshops.

More information on the PA Housing Finance Agency and the statewide PHARE funding awards can be found here.