July 15, 2019
Five Centre County organizations have received a combined $1.37 million in state funding to support local affordable housing programs.
The initiatives will be supported by the latest round of funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund, which was awarded last week.
“These funds will positively impact thousands of residents in Centre County, with the end result being a place they can call home,” state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, said in a press release. “These funds can be used to provide assistance with rent or utility payments, a down payment or closing costs on a new house, or refurbishing abandoned buildings or lots into affordable housing.”
PHARE is funded by a portion of the impact fee collected from natural gas companies operating in the state, as well as money from the realty transfer tax and the National Housing Trust Fund.
The local projects receiving funding include:
- $1,174,000 awarded to Mullin & Lonergan Associates, Inc., a housing and community development consulting firm, for an affordable housing project in Ferguson Township. Cherry Lane Apartments will be developed on West Cherry Lane by PDG V, LLC as "a premier building designed for general occupancy workforce rental housing," according to the project description. Three "rundown, vacant, single-family homes" will be removed and replaced by a three-story apartment building. The first floor will contain professional office space while the second and third floors will have 18 apartment units — four three-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units. Local developer Ara Kervandjian, who has developed several affordable housing projects around the area in recent years, is listed in online records as the principal of PDG V.
- $50,000 to State College Community Land Trust to be used toward acquisition and rehabilitation of three homes in the borough. "These homes will be sold to income-qualified households with the stipulation that when they decide to sell their home, they agree to sell to another income-qualified homeowner at less than the appraised value of the home, preserving them as permanently affordable housing units," according to the project description.
- $75,000 to State College Borough for an energy efficiency housing rehabilitation project. "The innovative pilot project will help to preserve and maintain homes and to reduce housing cost burdens in this area of rapidly escalating housing costs by reducing the amount that home owners pay in energy bills," according to the project description.
- $50,000 to Housing Transitions for its affordable housing branch's collaboration with State College Community Land Trust and the borough in developing a protocol and best practices for energy efficiency. The funding is a first step toward the initiative at Kemmerer Road Apartments and a Logan Avenue duplex. "Some of the funding will be used to conduct appropriate testing such as an energy audit and pre-retrofit blower door tests to determine projects to improve energy concerns within each complex," the project description states.
- $22,000 to Centre County Government for the PHARE Rental Assistance Program. The program offers financial assistance to eligible Centre County resident individuals or families who are homeless or near homelessness.
The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. In total this year, $51.2 million was awarded for programs in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.
“A major advantage of the PHARE program is that the decisions on how the funding should be spent are driven locally,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a press release. “Local municipalities determine how the funding can best preserve and expand the availability of affordable housing, and then they apply to PHARE to meet those needs. It’s a system that works.”