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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 11, 2014 10:18 AM
From: Senator Elder A. Vogel, Jr. and Sen. Shirley M. Kitchen
To: All Senate members
Subject: Housing Trust Fund
In the near future we will reintroduce legislation that would provide funding for the statewide Housing Trust Fund (HTF) - PA Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE).

Currently, PHARE’s only revenue is from Act 13 Impact Fees and those monies may only be spent in Shale Counties. Revenues generated through impact fees provide resources for home repairs, new construction, rental assistance, home rehabilitation, and demolition. This legislation will expand funding to all counties including those that receive monies from Act 13.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, there is a statewide shortage of 266,000 rental homes that are both affordable and available to households earning about $20,000 or less. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that 270,000 Pennsylvanians are homeless, including those living doubled up with friends or family.

Across Pennsylvania, we see blighted and abandoned properties overwhelming the housing market. PHARE funds can be used to remediate blight as well as develop homes within reach of low wage workers and people on fixed income.

This legislation will use revenue from the Realty Transfer Tax (RTT) to provide funding for the Housing Trust Fund. There will not be an increase in the RTT, nor will it pull revenue out of the General Fund. If the amount of RTT increases over the amount budgeted for the Fiscal Year 2014-15, 40 percent of the increase will go to the HTF and 60 percent will go to the General Fund. The HTF will be capped at $25 million per year.

This legislation will be a step in the right direction by providing many new resources needed by our local communities

Introduced as SB566