Pa.’s Natural Gas Tax Funds Affordable Housing Initiatives

Pennsylvania’s tax on natural gas – the impact fee – generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually for conservation programs, environmental initiatives, first responders, infrastructure, and, as reported this week, affordable housing initiatives across the state.

Through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) program and the state Housing Finance Agency’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits – both of which are funded partially with Act 13 impact fee dollars – rental assistance, vacated and blighted property rehabilitation, transitional housing centers and many other programs received necessary funds to keep operations afloat.

This month’s release of the funding comes at a critical time as too many Americans face pandemic-related economic challenges and, even, possible evictions. Thanks to the impact fee, though, increased funding for these programs is helping Pennsylvanians keep their homes.

“When we crafted the PHARE program, our goal was to direct a portion of the natural gas drilling fees back to communities in my district to help expand affordable housing opportunities now and for years to come,” State Senator Gene Yaw said. “Today, almost 10 years since the program was created, it still serves to assist residents with funding and resources to obtain affordable housing, particularly in this difficult time.”

Here’s more news coverage of how the PHARE Program is helping Pennsylvanians:

More than $1.6M awarded for affordable housing in Chester, Delaware counties
Ten organizations in Chester and Delaware counties will receive more than $1.6 million for affordable housing programs from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency state Sen. Tom Killion (R-Chester and Delaware) announced. “The need for affordable housing has never been more pronounced,” said Killion, “The pandemic has broken the finances of countless hardworking Pennsylvanians. These grants will make a real difference in the lives of many residents in Chester and Delaware counties.” (8/15/20)

Funds Set Aside To Help Refurbish Blighted Homes

PHARE has awarded $450,000 to the Butler County Acquisition Rehab Program. The money will be used to purchase homes that are in foreclosure or blighted which will then be rehabilitated to become rental units…PHARE receives funding from Marcellus Shale impact fees, realty transfer taxes, and the National Housing Trust Fund. (8/17/20)

Reps. Davidson, Zabel applaud $100K for program to strengthen Upper Darby

State Reps. Margo Davidson, D-164 of Upper Darby, and Mike Zabel, D-163 of Upper Darby, announced that Upper Darby Township has been approved to receive $100,000 in funding for a program to develop neighborhood stability and combat blight…Upper Darby Township will use the money awarded to create an Emergency Rehabilitation Program. The program will be used to provide emergency housing rehabilitation grants for qualified low- to very low-income homeowners. (8/18/20)

County planners to get state grant

The Lawrence County Department of Planning and Community will get a $300,000 state grant to continue building a countywide blight removal program…The money earmarked for the county planning and community department will help the office work with stakeholders to identify targeted tipping-point neighborhoods, those in which public intervention has the potential to kick-start private investment and layer investments of different types to create multi-faceted revitalization projects. (8/16/20)

Centre County Affordable Housing Projects Receive $353,000 in State Funding

Administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, PHARE is funded by a portion of the impact fee collected from natural gas companies operating in the state, as well as money from the realty transfer tax and the National Housing Trust Fund. The Centre County projects are among 214 housing and community development initiatives statewide receiving a total of $45.8 million. (8/13/20)