Merski: Nearly $500K awarded to address homelessness, boost housing stability

ERIE, June 9 – New funding of $482,500 will create housing opportunities for low-income residents and boost housing stability in Erie communities, state Rep. Bob Merski announced today.

Merski, D-Erie, said the funding – awarded by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency – includes assistance, programs and counseling to help folks stay in their homes.

“Housing stability plays a huge role in quality of life,” Merski said. “Housing is linked to physical and mental health, the ability to find work and the chance to provide a stable family home life. But too many Erie families still face homelessness or live with the constant threat of it, and the numbers have been going in the wrong direction. Today’s funding will help us make inroads by expanding housing options for residents in need and helping them to become more self-sufficient.

“I’m also encouraged that the House is advancing my bill to fight blight, which aims to help cities transform vacant, abandoned housing into new affordable options.”

Merski said the funding – which comes from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund – includes: 

  • $150,000 to Mercy Center for Women for renovations to Mercy Center for Women's Mercy Anchor Community Center Building, which will benefit approximately 40 residents (women with children) and 1,000 neighborhood residents through low-income and homeless prevention programs and educational support services.
  • $100,000 to the St. Martin Center to increase housing stability for more than 300 people by improving self-sufficiency through rental and mortgage assistance.
  • $100,000 to the Erie County Department of Human Services for a landlord risk mitigation program to maintain and attract landlords to rent affordable housing.
  • $90,000 to the GMA Development Group LLC for renovation of blighted or aging homes, as well as counseling and training services.
  • $42,500 to the St. Martin Center for the Housing Counseling Project to reduce the number of people experiencing or at immediate risk of homelessness. Those helped will include veterans, high-risk populations, female heads of household and the BIPOC community.

Money for the grants comes from Realty Transfer Taxes. Other funding for PHARE grants comes from Marcellus Shale impact fees.