|July 23, 2015 02:16 PM
|Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
|All House members
|Companion bills to fight blight and homelessness (two bills)
|Soon, I will introduce two companion bills to address the serious problems of blighted properties and homelessness in the Commonwealth. The first bill will provide a directive to land banks to convert a portion of blighted properties they acquire into homeless housing facilities. The second bill will provide a tax credit, under the existing Neighborhood Assistance Program, to private developers who partner with land banks and other non-profit organizations to rehabilitate these properties.
Last year, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that at least 15,000 persons are experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania. Of that number over 1,000 persons were not sheltered in either an emergency housing shelter or a transitional housing shelter. Data from the Housing Alliance of PA shows that our school districts provide services to around 13,000 homeless children every year. We know the HUD numbers are low and in actuality, there are many more homeless Pennsylvanians who do not have a safe place to lay their head down at night.
Specifically, these bills will expand the power of land banks to enter into partnerships with organizations in the private sector to create local solutions to address the lack of housing for the homeless population in their communities. In addition, the bills will increase the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credits program to $35,000,000, up from $18,000,000, and the bills will expand the eligibility criteria to include locations within land bank jurisdictions.
Instead of simply giving homeless individuals and families a “hand-out”, this legislation will give them the “hand-up” they need to stabilize their lives. Once homeless individuals are housed, it will increase the likelihood that they are able to find jobs and support themselves. This legislation will help connect homeless persons with the services they need to live full and productive lives. Imagine trying to find a job if you did not have a permanent address or interviewing for a position if you did not have a place to bathe. This legislation promises to fix that problem.
Please join me by co-sponsoring each of these bills which will take a step toward ending homelessness and spur the rehabilitation of blighted properties within our communities.
Introduced as HB1500
|A bill to expand the power of land banks to enter into partnerships with organizations in the private sector to create local solutions to address the lack of housing for the homeless population in their communities. This bill will be introduced as HB 1500.
Introduced as HB1501
|A bill to increase the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credits program to $35,000,000. This bill will be introduced by HB 1501.