Bizzarro announces $242,500 in funding for housing programs

Programs will assist veterans, landlords, homeowners and renters

ERIE, June 9 – In an effort to increase the amount of affordable housing throughout the region, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro has announced the approval of $242,500 in state funding for housing programs in his district. The programs are designed to keep people in their homes, retain and increase the number of landlords in the region, and assist veterans and female heads of households at risk of experiencing homelessness.

“In talking with colleagues for the last decade, it’s apparent the affordable housing crisis isn’t isolated to Pennsylvania’s largest cities,” Bizzarro said. “It is a crisis throughout the state. The cost of housing has made it almost impossible for a growing number of young people and members of our middle class to make the dream of owning their own home a reality. I’ve been an advocate on this issue, but it’s paramount that funding for the type of programs approved this week continue to help bridge the gap. Home ownership should not be a luxury enjoyed only by a select few.”

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) board approved three programs in Erie County through Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE). Money to fund this round of PHARE applications came from Marcellus Shale Impact Fees and Realty Transfer Taxes. This week’s announcement included the approval of $61.5 million in funding for affordable housing.

The PHFA board approved three projects in Erie County, including $100,000 for the St. Martin Center Housing Stability Project to provide mortgage and rental assistance for more than 300 people. The PHFA board also approved $100,000 for the Erie County Department of Human Services for the Landlord Incentive Program, which will provide bonuses and assistance to help increase the number of landlords while at the same time working to retain the landlords currently providing housing.

Funding has also been approved for $42,500 for the St. Martin Housing Counseling Project. The project estimates it will help 300 people – or roughly 100 households – that are either experiencing homelessness or in imminent danger of experiencing homelessness. Its serves to provide housing assistance to people at high risk for homelessness, including veterans and female heads of households.

For years, Bizzarro has worked in a bipartisan fashion to garner support for his first-time homebuyers savings account, a bill which would allow people to set up 10-year tax deductible savings accounts for the purpose of purchasing a home. The bill has been introduced as H.B. 126 in the current legislative session.

Today’s announcement continues Bizzarro’s efforts to allocate state money to properly fund programs, schools, nonprofits, first responders and local businesses in his district and Erie County. So far this year, Bizzarro has helped secure more than $8.69 million for the region.