Caltagirone announces $475K for Reading projects

READING, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Tom Caltagirone announced three projects received funding Thursday to combat blight and address a lack of affordable housing in Reading.

“I am thankful to see state funds heading to projects that address one of our state’s biggest problems, and – more importantly – provide a solution to the problem as well as improving the well-being and living conditions for our residents,” Caltagirone said.

The funds approved, include:

  • $300,000 for Service Access & Management, Inc.: These funds will pay for the “At-Risk” Tennant-Based Rental Assistance program, which will serve households where 50% or more of total household income is used toward rent and basic utilities. The program accepts renters not yet under legal eviction, prevents eviction and provides assistance to help residents maintain an affordable home.
  • $100,000 for Community First Fund: Creates Affordable Housing Loan Fund to be used for nonprofit and for-profit developers to receive loans. The work of the developers will in turn be used to increase the availability of affordable housing in Berks County.
  • $75,000 for Berks County Nonprofit Development Corp.: Working with the city of Reading under its Housing and Blight Plan, the corporation proposes to rehabilitate three properties in the Prince Historic District. The properties will then be sold to low- to moderate-income families.

Fighting Blight and providing affordable housing has been a priority for Caltagirone. Caltagirone has written legislation – H.B. 896 and H.B. 897 – to address blight and affordable housing in the state. H.B. 896 passed the House unanimously in April, and the bill awaits final approval by the Senate this fall.

The funding for the three projects received approval at Thursday’s meeting of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Board, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement. Money for the projects is provided by Marcellus Shale Impact Fees, Realty Transfer Taxes and the National Housing Trust Fund.