State OKs $10M in Tax Credits as Report Outlines How Far Out of Reach Housing Remains for Workers
The Pennsylvania General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf approved $10 million for the Pa. Housing Tax Credit program aimed at closing the gap in affordable housing just before the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released its report documenting how far out of reach housing is for workers in Pennsylvania and across the Country.
“We’re grateful to lawmakers who recognize the importance of housing as a determinent of health for individuals, families and communities,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale. “We’re also grateful to those advocates who accompany those experiencing or facing homelessness and consistently speak with and for them in their struggle to remain housed. Your long-term witness of service and demand for justice are seen and heard.”
Last session, the General Assembly created the housing tax credit program, but without funding. This year’s funding will enable individual projects to receive a maximum of $1.5 million in tax credits. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) will develop the program guidelines and administer the program.
Meanwhile, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released Out of Reach 2021. This report highlights the mismatch between the wages people earn and the price of decent rental housing in every state, metropolitan area, and county in the U.S. The report and data are valuable in making the case for rental assistance, affordable housing, and livable wages among other important policy priorities.
Out of Reach 2021 finds that in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, and these workers cannot afford modest one-bedroom apartments in 93% of U.S. counties. Over 7.5 million extremely low-income renters are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing. Such cost burdens lead too often to housing instability and homelessness.
The report includes housing cost and wage data specific for Pennsylvania and our counties. Explore the full Out of Reach 2021: The High Cost of Housing report and its interactive website with its easy-to-use search function for Out of Reach data by metropolitan-area ZIP codes. Use this data to make the case for an economic recovery that ensures low-wage workers in Pennsylvania and low-income renters in Pennsylvania do not return to a pre-pandemic status quo of being housing cost burdened, facing housing instability, and at-risk of becoming homeless.
Our ELCA social statement “Economic Life” reminds us that the Gospel calls us to care and provide for those in need, especially as it relates to our fundamental needs. In light of this data, that must include ensuring all people have access to adequate and affordable housing. Everyone should live sufficiently, not beyond their means and not below society’s means to care for them. This data shows that Pennsylvania needs a living wage, and greater assistance for those struggling to afford housing.