Caltagirone praises Urban Affairs for reporting bills out of committee

HARRISBURG, June 12 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, and Democratic chair of the House Urban Affairs Committee, today gave his thanks to the committee for reporting his bills out of committee with overwhelming support.

Caltagirone’s two-bill package would accomplish two goals:

  • House Bill 896 would expand the eligibility criteria for the Neighborhood Assistance Program to include homeless housing assistance projects located within land bank jurisdictions.
  • House Bill 897 would expand the power of existing 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 would exempt all land bank transactions from both state and local realty transfer taxes.

“I want to thank my colleagues for their support on this legislation,” Caltagirone said. “Between the two bills that I have sponsored, I truly believe that we can make a difference fighting against blight and homelessness across our state. Several other states have passed creative solutions to alleviating chronic poverty and the homelessness that follows. It is time Pennsylvania joins with them by working on substantive solutions tailored to our unique needs.”

The Joint State Government Commission's 2016 study on homelessness concluded that one of the primary causes of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. While some can take advantage of emergency and transitional housing solutions, many of the homeless take "shelter" under bridges, in cars, or in abandoned buildings.

While this tragedy continues, we also have owners of troubled properties for whom those properties have become liabilities rather than assets. They are frequently unable even to give away such properties to the proper authorities due to real estate transfer taxes and expenses.

By connecting these property owners and homeless people to the right resources, we can alleviate poverty and create quality, affordable housing, Caltagirone said.

Residents who want more information on this, or another state-related matter, can contact Caltagirone’s district office at 610-376-1529.