The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Allentown (RACA) will receive $200,000 for housing rehabilitation as one of 211 projects being awarded $51.2 million across the Commonwealth for the 2018/19 Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) program.
Governor Tom Wolf made the announcement today in Harrisburg.
The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). The Agency received 345 applications requesting more than $204 million in funds.
“A major advantage of the PHARE program is that the decisions on how the funding should be spent are driven locally,” said Governor Wolf. “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.”
The Authority will use the funds to primarily serve persons or households below 50% of the Median Area Income (MAI) in three and four-bedroom Authority-owned units.
Current Median Family Income in Allentown is $74,600, which is 32% lower than the national average. In Allentown, nearly 30% of households have incomes below 50% MAI.
RACA’s goal is to rehab properties and make them available for low-income residents, either through purchase or rental.
According to Mayor Ray O’Connell, “The proposed project would address blighted properties and the community safety concerns connected to them. It would also allow RACA to respond directly to the goals and strategies laid out in the city’s existing comprehensive plan by rehabilitating distressed properties to create quality affordable housing units, a major need within the city.”
PHFA staff reports that at least $36.6 million of the $51.2 million allocated across the Commonwealth today will be used to fund housing projects benefiting households with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income. That represents 71 percent of the awarded funding.