From litter pickup and backpack stocking to health kit ingathering and soup kitchen cooking, Lutheran hands were busy doing God’s work across the whole ELCA in September.  And in some Pennsylvania congregations, those hands were writing letters  to give voice to the needs of their vulnerable neighbors.

Congregations such as Union Lutheran in York added advocacy to their service projects on God’s work. Our hands. Sunday. Members of Union, which offers a drop-in center/coffee spot and sponsors street outreach for those experiencing homelessness, wrote letters to state lawmakers, inviting them to visit their ministry to learn more. The letters also encouraged their elected officials to support bipartisan legislation to raise the cap on the state housing trust fund.

The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority, expands opportunity for people in need and revitalizes communities. Funded through a portion of the PA Realty Transfer Tax (RTT), PHARE supports hundreds of projects annually to end homelessness, support home ownership, rehabilitate blighted properties, and provide housing for veterans, the elderly, and re-entry community.

The strength of Pennsylvania’s real estate market and corresponding growth of resources from the RTT have made millions in additional PHARE funding possible, but unavailable due to the current $40 million funding cap. At the same time, Pennsylvania is experiencing a housing crisis exacerbated by increasing costs of housing and construction.

SB1254 and HB 2665 — would raise the current $40 million cap on PHARE funding from the Realty Transfer Tax. The legislation would allow PHARE to access more state funding without a tax increase.

Our ministries have been stretching to serve the increasing numbers of neighbors experiencing homelessness. Learn more about housing in your county.
Click here to write learn more and send your own letter in support of lifting the cap on PHARE.

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