Joint HDPC-PLBC hearing examines how to fight blight, decrease homelessness

READING, Dec. 2 – State Rep. Tom Caltagirone, D-Berks, today hosted a joint House Democratic Policy Committee and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus public hearing on affordable housing. 

Caltagirone requested the hearing to discuss ways Pennsylvania and cities like Reading can develop plans to deal with abandoned and dilapidated properties and help the homeless, while finding new ways to provide affordable housing. Local experts joined Caltagirone and legislators from across the state.

“I’m concerned with improving local neighborhoods and seeing our community provide affordable housing to help keep families, children and veterans out of shelters and off the street,” Caltagirone said. “I’ve sponsored a pair of bills to provide for affordable housing that I remain hopeful will see a vote in the House in the coming weeks.”

Testifiers included experts in affordable housing and community development as well as local city officials.

“The lack of affordable housing in Pennsylvania is deeply troubling,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila. and PLBC chairman. “It is particularly inadequate for people of color, which perpetuates an enormous wealth gap and excludes African American students from many high-performing schools. By putting a spotlight on these disparities, we can consciously pinpoint possible solutions in order to reverse the trend.”

The meeting was one in a series held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA, which focuses on legislation that promotes good jobs, affordable and accessible health care, quality schools and job training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4PA.com. Hearing testimony and video will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.