Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski announce Erie to receive $300K investment for area housing security

ERIE, Aug. 13 – State Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, D-Erie, today announced that four Erie-based organizations will receive $300,000 in state funding to help local residents with housing costs.

“As we navigate this pandemic, housing security is an important part of public safety. These projects will improve access to affordable housing while stimulating our economy. Public-private partnership is an important part of addressing the drastic need for housing that people can afford,” explained Bizzarro. “These funds will go directly to supporting our most vulnerable neighbors and those who care for them.”

“Safe, affordable housing has never been more important as our community endures the economic impact of this pandemic,” Harkins said. “This funding is going to help make sure those in our community who are displaced or in danger of becoming homeless will have the security that comes with knowing they have affordable options. It will also assist residents in making necessary repairs and improvements.”

“In addition to helping more Erie families find safe, affordable housing, this funding is going to support and improve related social services,” Merski said. “Some of the funding will be used to develop a centralized intake system so housing counselors can serve additional clients, while other funding will go to support our direct care workers who may facing evictions or utility shutoffs.”

Erie DAWN will receive $50,000 to support the “My Home” project, designed to help individuals who are homeless or near homeless by providing financial assistance, case management and other services to help improve self-sufficiency.

Bizzarro said grants awarded to Voices for Independence will go to helping direct care workers. The $100,000 awarded will be used to support direct care workers facing evictions, late mortgage payments or utility shut-off concerns.

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee will utilize $50,000 to develop a centralized intake system to support its housing counseling program, allowing for a more timely experience to serve those in need.

The St. Martin Center will use the funding to help provide income-eligible families with housing counseling rental assistance services, reaching 250 families.

PHARE is funded by Marcellus Shale impact fees, realty transfer taxes and the National Housing Trust Fund.