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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 17, 2017 02:29 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Companion Bills to Fight Blight and Homelessness (two bills)
 
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation to address the serious problems of blighted properties and homelessness in Pennsylvania. The bills will provide a directive to land banks to convert a portion of the blighted properties they acquire into housing for the homeless and will provide a tax credit under the existing Neighborhood Assistance Program to private developers who partner with land banks and non-profit organizations to rehabilitate such properties.

According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates, there were 15,339 persons experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania on a single night last year, including 6,740 homeless families with children, 868 unaccompanied homeless youth, and 1,248 veterans. The majority were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs. The remaining were found in unsheltered locations such as under bridges, cars, or abandoned buildings.

The Joint State Government Commission’s recent study on homelessness (pursuant to HR 550 of 2014) attributed an overarching cause of homelessness in Pennsylvania to the lack of affordable housing. Its analysis of recent trends led it to conclude that housing affordability problems have worsened almost continuously for the past three decades. In particular, the housing bubble collapse in 2007 and subsequent Great Recession are perceived as the leading economic cause of a vast increase in the number of households, both renters and homeowners, with severe housing cost burdens.

Specifically, the first bill (previously HB 1500 of last session) 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 within their communities and will exempt all land bank transactions from both state and local realty transfer taxes. This bill passed the House 195-0 last session.

The second bill (previously HB 1501 of last session) will expand the eligibility criteria of the Neighborhood Assistance Program to include locations within land bank jurisdictions as well as increase the total tax credit authorization available under the program from $18 to $35 million. Lack of a stable, quality, affordable home increases the risk of illness, failure at school, inability to find or hold a job, incarceration and nursing home placement, often at public expense.

Please join me in co-sponsoring these critical bills that will help to end homelessness as well as spur the rehabilitation of blighted properties throughout the state.



Document #1

Introduced as HB1076

Description: Specifically, the first bill (previously HB 1500 of last session) 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 within their communities and will exempt all land bank transactions from both state and local realty transfer taxes. This bill passed the House 195-0.
 

Document #2

Introduced as HB1077

Description: The second bill (previously HB 1501 of last session) will expand the eligibility criteria of the Neighborhood Assistance Program to include locations within land bank jurisdictions as well as increase the total tax credit authorization available under the program from $18 to $35 million. Lack of a stable, quality, affordable home increases the risk of illness, failure at school, inability to find or hold a job, incarceration and nursing home placement, often at public expense.