State Representatives Increase Pennsylvania's Affordable Housing Budget

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Low Income Housing Coalition

    GLENSIDE, Pa., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania House of
 Representatives yesterday passed five budget amendments dramatically
 increasing state support for affordable housing. The measures would add
 $33 million for housing and neighborhood revitalization. Amendment sponsors
 included Republican Representatives John Taylor (Philadelphia), Gene
 DiGirolamo (Bucks County) and Democrat Tom Petrone (Pittsburgh).
     "These amendments taken together represent an unprecedented statewide
 approach to housing," said Andrew Frishkoff, Executive Director of the
 Pennsylvania Low Income Housing Coalition, whose organization had worked with
 legislators to push these amendments.
     The amendment sponsored by Representative Taylor, Chair of the House
 Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, will provide $8
 million in aid to nonprofit organizations developing affordable and market
 rate housing in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Representative Taylor noted that,
 "with our cities continuing to lose population, new actions are needed to
 revitalize our urban neighborhoods so that they will once again be places that
 keep and attract young working families."
     Representative DiGirolamo's amendment creates a $15 million state matching
 fund that will work with the 40 county housing trust funds that operate
 throughout the state. Representative DiGirolamo, Secretary of the House
 Appropriations Committee, stated: "Bucks and other counties have created
 successful, innovative housing programs using local resources. With the state
 matching county efforts, counties will be able to increase the supply of
 affordable housing for hard working families and seniors."
     Representative Petrone, Minority Chair of the House Urban Affairs
 Committee, sponsored three successful amendments. One would add $5 million to
 the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's "PennHomes" program, a second
 amendment would add $3 million to the Agency's HEMAP program which combats
 foreclosures and a third would make available $2 million for operating support
 to nonprofit organizations developing affordable housing. In seeking these
 amendments Representative Petrone said that, "Pennsylvania has supported each
 of these activities in the past. In recent years the state has ceased to be a
 full affordable housing partner with our cities and our residents.  My
 amendments begin to restore a needed balance in the state budget."
     In addition to these five amendments the Ridge Administration is proposing
 to use $30 million in surplus federal welfare funds in each of the next two
 years to fund housing programs for very low income Pennsylvanians and
 $5 million in state funds for a Brownfields for Housing initiative that would
 assist in the redevelopment or re-use of about a dozen sites in Pennsylvania's
 smaller cities.
     "According to state figures, millions of Pennsylvanians have serious
 housing problems and tens of thousands will have no home at all at some point
 during this year. The Governor's budget has acknowledged the need to do more
 for our lowest income residents. The House of Representatives has acknowledged
 the need to do more to aid distressed communities and working families. Now
 the State Senate must acknowledge its responsibility and become part of the
 state's housing solution," said Frishkoff.
     The State Senate is scheduled to be in conference with House leaders
 during the next few weeks to iron out differences between their budget
 proposals. The current Pennsylvania state budget currently provides less than
 $1 per capita for state affordable housing programs, far less than neighboring
 states.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X15419208
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Low Income Housing Coalition
    GLENSIDE, Pa., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania House of
 Representatives yesterday passed five budget amendments dramatically
 increasing state support for affordable housing. The measures would add
 $33 million for housing and neighborhood revitalization. Amendment sponsors
 included Republican Representatives John Taylor (Philadelphia), Gene
 DiGirolamo (Bucks County) and Democrat Tom Petrone (Pittsburgh).
     "These amendments taken together represent an unprecedented statewide
 approach to housing," said Andrew Frishkoff, Executive Director of the
 Pennsylvania Low Income Housing Coalition, whose organization had worked with
 legislators to push these amendments.
     The amendment sponsored by Representative Taylor, Chair of the House
 Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, will provide $8
 million in aid to nonprofit organizations developing affordable and market
 rate housing in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Representative Taylor noted that,
 "with our cities continuing to lose population, new actions are needed to
 revitalize our urban neighborhoods so that they will once again be places that
 keep and attract young working families."
     Representative DiGirolamo's amendment creates a $15 million state matching
 fund that will work with the 40 county housing trust funds that operate
 throughout the state. Representative DiGirolamo, Secretary of the House
 Appropriations Committee, stated: "Bucks and other counties have created
 successful, innovative housing programs using local resources. With the state
 matching county efforts, counties will be able to increase the supply of
 affordable housing for hard working families and seniors."
     Representative Petrone, Minority Chair of the House Urban Affairs
 Committee, sponsored three successful amendments. One would add $5 million to
 the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's "PennHomes" program, a second
 amendment would add $3 million to the Agency's HEMAP program which combats
 foreclosures and a third would make available $2 million for operating support
 to nonprofit organizations developing affordable housing. In seeking these
 amendments Representative Petrone said that, "Pennsylvania has supported each
 of these activities in the past. In recent years the state has ceased to be a
 full affordable housing partner with our cities and our residents.  My
 amendments begin to restore a needed balance in the state budget."
     In addition to these five amendments the Ridge Administration is proposing
 to use $30 million in surplus federal welfare funds in each of the next two
 years to fund housing programs for very low income Pennsylvanians and
 $5 million in state funds for a Brownfields for Housing initiative that would
 assist in the redevelopment or re-use of about a dozen sites in Pennsylvania's
 smaller cities.
     "According to state figures, millions of Pennsylvanians have serious
 housing problems and tens of thousands will have no home at all at some point
 during this year. The Governor's budget has acknowledged the need to do more
 for our lowest income residents. The House of Representatives has acknowledged
 the need to do more to aid distressed communities and working families. Now
 the State Senate must acknowledge its responsibility and become part of the
 state's housing solution," said Frishkoff.
     The State Senate is scheduled to be in conference with House leaders
 during the next few weeks to iron out differences between their budget
 proposals. The current Pennsylvania state budget currently provides less than
 $1 per capita for state affordable housing programs, far less than neighboring
 states.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X15419208
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Low Income Housing Coalition