Freeman announces nearly $400K in community development funding

HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, today announced a total of $398,000 in funding for housing programs has been awarded to three community development initiatives in his district via the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund.

“Our communities are in urgent need of affordable housing,” Freeman said. “These investments announced today will foster partnerships committed to addressing the housing needs of Northampton County over a significant period of time.”

Freeman explained the fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which distributed the awards within his district as follows:

  • Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board, $250,000:
    • PHARE funding will provide rehab of 11 owner-occupied units for households; homeless prevention for 110 households; rapid rehousing for 60 households; and homeownership counseling for 50 prospective first-time homebuyers.
  • Days Restart LLC, $100,000:
    • Dutchtown Commons is a planned housing and retail development in the West Ward of the city of Easton in Northampton County. This project will transform seven adjacent, vacant or underutilized lots into a seven-story structure that has a supermarket, two parking lots and a total of 39 one- and two- bedroom apartments on the upper floors. By September 2019, the project obtained all the required planning and zoning approvals from the city of Easton.
  • The Lehigh Conference of Churches, $48,000:
    • PHARE funding will be used to convert a single-family dwelling in disrepair in Easton's West Ward into three safe, secure and desirable affordable shared housing units for adults at risk of homelessness. Rehabilitation will improve the habitability, energy efficiency and security of the subject Lazarus House, built more than 100 years ago and which had been a low-income rental and sorely in need of update.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency works to provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. Through its carefully managed mortgage programs and investments in multifamily housing developments, PHFA also promotes economic development across the state. Since its creation by the legislature in 1972, it has generated more than $14.8 billion of funding for more than 179,850 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 136,215 rental units, distributed more than $109.2 million to support local housing initiatives and saved the homes of more than 50,300 families from foreclosure. PHFA programs and operations are funded primarily by the sale of securities and from fees paid by program users, not by public tax dollars. The agency is governed by a 14-member board.