On November 4 Governor Tom Wolf yesterday signed into law an expansion of the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act (PHARE), the State’s Housing Trust Fund. Act 58 of 2015 makes way for safe, affordable homes for Pennsylvanian in all 67 counties and creating economic opportunities in the process create.

PHARE provides funds to support quality homes that are affordable to seniors and people with disabilities, veterans and low-wage working families. It is also used to reclaim blighted houses and combat homelessness.

The newly signed legislation will expand the Housing Trust Fund’s revenue and reach to all 67 counties with revenue drawn from future growth in the existing Realty Transfer Tax, redirecting it back into the residential real estate market. Until now PHARE was funded by a portion of Marcellus Shale drilling impact fees and was limited to use by the 37 Pennsylvania counties that host drilling wells.

LAMPa was part of advocacy efforts that established PHARE in 2009 and has been working since then in partnership with the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania to find a stable and secure funding mechanism for it.

“PHARE has proven to be a success in providing housing security and opportunity for those in need,” said Liz Hersh of the Housing Alliance of PA. “With the Governor’s signature, we will now have an even stronger and wider reach throughout the Commonwealth. It builds on success.”

The legislation expanding the Housing Trust Fund passed the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support winning a combined 242-1 vote in both chambers.

Since its start 2012, $34 million in PHARE funds are assisting over 4,000 families through the home rehab and repair, rental assistance, development and expanded homeownership. It is leveraging an additional $221 million investment from other sources. More than 500 jobs have been created.

For more information on the state Housing Trust Fund, visit www.homesnotblight.org.

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