Allegheny County, June 9, 2023 – Local initiatives to address affordable housing needs and associated community development will receive state grants totaling $4,332,449, state Sen. Wayne Fontana announced today.
“These programs, offered by experienced and proven local organizations, will make an enormous impact on the lives of so many people in the 42nd Senatorial District,” Fontana said. “For many of our neighbors, affordable housing is the key to unlocking financial stability. Today’s awards will literally change the lives of hundreds of families in our communities.”
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 309 awards in all 67 counties totaling $61.5 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 grant awardees are:
ACTION-Housing, Inc., ACTION-Housing Preservation Funding
$125,000 to support development work preserving affordable housing in the Pittsburgh market. As the largest non-profit affordable housing developer based in Pittsburgh, ACTION-Housing is a natural organization to take on the complicated challenges of preservation, both of projects with expiring deed restrictions and of natural occurring affordable housing.
ACTION-Housing, Inc., Widows’ Home
$400,000 for the Widows’ Home project, located on the Northside. Originally constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Widows’ Home has a long history of housing various types of vulnerable populations. After operating at a loss for years, the project has been sold to ACTION-Housing who is applying for HUD Project Based Vouchers to increase project income and stabilize the property. The project needs funding for large capital expenses that will qualify it for HUD funding and replenish the reserves.
Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, Allegheny County’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Eviction Prevention Demonstration Project
$199,996 for a pilot project to be launched in select magisterial district court offices within the Fifth Judicial District, increasing mediation access and stabilizing housing for a greater number of Allegheny County residents at risk of eviction. The model allows mediation, resource navigation, and legal aid organizations to collaboratively ensure that landlords and tenants are equipped to resolve their housing dispute sustainably.
Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, Housing Solution Specialist
$97,453 to provide specialized housing case management to support successful transitions out of homeless system housing programs. The position will work across the array of homeless housing providers, helping to improve system flow, conserve homeless system housing units for those with the greatest need and reduce the length of time households experience homelessness.
Bedford Dwellings Phase IB, LLC., Bedford Dwellings Phase IB
$1,000,000 for the redevelopment of the city’s oldest public housing complex. This development will utilize a twinning strategy, using both 9% and 4% LIHTCs from PHFA. The full Reed Roberts development plan includes 123 units. The 4% Phase will be composed of the remaining 62 units containing 53 one- and two-bedroom 55+ senior units in elevator served apartment and 9 general occupancy 3 bedroom triplex units.
Bethlehem Haven of Pittsburgh, Inc., Bethlehem Haven Women’s Supportive Housing
$350,000 for the Bethlehem Havens property at 1410 Fifth Avenue. This location serves as a long-term residential supportive housing for women who may not be capable of living independently or had been experiencing long term housing instability. Unfortunately, the building is in dire need of extensive renovations including conversion to Single Room Occupancy vs dormitory style living, mechanical upgrades and finishes.
Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, Inc., Building Equality for New and Existing Homeowners
$250,000 to provide low- and moderate-income new homebuyers and existing low-income homeowners comprehensive trauma-informed financial education alongside closing cost assistance to first-time homebuyers. Additionally, Catapult will launch its Tangled Title Clinic as part of its post-purchase education program that will focus on foreclosure prevention and asset protection for existing low-income homeowners.
City of Bridges CLT, A Holistic Housing Intervention in the TriBoro EcoDistrict
$160,000 for this housing intervention in the boroughs of Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg. As a response to market-driven displacement, CBCLT will convert one currently vacant home to a long-term affordable rental unit and renovate 3 currently vacant, blighted structures acquired from the TriCOG Land Bank into permanently affordable homeownership.
The Jubilee Association, LLC., Supporting & Strengthening the Preventing Homelessness Program and Path to Self-Sufficiency Program
$50,000 to expand the Preventing Homelessness & Path to Self-Sufficiency Programs to combat homelessness by preventing it in the first place, providing financial support to avoid evictions, prevent utilities from being turned off, & other life-altering crises. Jubilee Association will be able to serve more families & individuals, helping to meet short-term financial needs & stabilize their longer-term economic stability, while working to meet their emotional needs and wellbeing.
Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc., Community-Based Homeownership Services
$325,000 to support the implementation of community-based homeownership programming, to include HUD-certified pre- and post-purchase homebuyer counseling, education, and down payment and closing cost assistance, through collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations, nonprofit and for-profit developers, and other key stakeholders.
Perry Hilltop Citizens’ Council, Inc., Perrysville Avenue Commercial Corridor
$100,000 to stabilize the two-story mixed-use building at 2131 Perrysville Avenue. The building will be converted into two affordable rental apartments, accepting Section 8 Vouchers. An architectural and engineering study on the building was conducted in April 2021. The findings from this investigation found evidence of structural failure, repair of retaining walls, shifting wood columns along the building core, roof assembly failure, and mold. The joists and all flooring need rebuilt.
Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, PHDC Housing Initiative
$200,000 to facilitate access to appropriate and affordable rental housing for low-income Latinos in Allegheny County. PHDC helps Latinos overcome language and cultural barriers preventing them from accessing rental housing by facilitating communication between renters and landlords, supporting Latinos throughout the entire rental process, and providing financial assistance.
Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, Safe and Health Homes in the Hill District II
$200,000 towards completing 10 owner-occupied repairs in the Hill District that are focused on creating safe and healthy homes. Additionally, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh (RTP) will serve 10 households through its Building Connections program, a program designed to utilize RTP’s established relationships with homeowners to identify and unlock additional qualifying public services and resources. These services can address utility assistance, food security, property tax relief programs, and estate planning.
Rising Tide Partners, Affordable Homeownership for Long-Term Tenants
$250,000 to acquire and redevelop at least 30 single-family homes across three neighborhoods in Pittsburgh for new, affordable ownership opportunities.
Second Avenue Commons, Inc., Second Avenue Commons Homeless Assistance
$100,000 for this new program that will be an extension of the new Second Avenue Commons Downtown. Multiple service providers in this one location are working collaboratively to assist individuals who are experiencing homelessness find the supports they need to move towards permanent housing. This Assistance program will provide needed financial support from this transition from homelessness to stable housing.
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.
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Home Accessibility Program for Independence (HAPI)
$250,000 to provide grants to homeowners and renters for accessibility modifications to their homes to allow them to age in place and avoid displacement. The program works with specialized contractors to provide critical items such as stairlifts, bathroom remodels, and wheelchair accessibility modifications. The program allows seniors and people with disabilities to continue living in their homes, providing greater independence.
Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment, WAVE Housing Counseling Services
$75,000 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. Funding will assist with salaries for housing counselors. WAVE offers housing counseling, homeownership workshops, direct services and trauma informed approaches that empower individual and community relationships, enhance protective factors, and build life skills to support stability.
More information on the PA Housing Finance Agency and the statewide PHARE funding awards can be found here.