A Message From Our Executive Director- August 2023

By Phyllis Chamberlain, Executive Director

Dear Friends, 

Here’s some of what we have going on at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.
…. because we need more funding to meet the gap between what people earn and what they need to afford housing…
We continue to work to increase funding for the state PHARE program.
Currently there is a funding formula and funding cap which transfers up to $60 million annually from the state realty transfer tax (RTT) to PHFA for PHARE funding. Our goal is to increase the funding to up to $100 million annually. (There are two other funding sources that are smaller in funding level than RTT revenue.)
For our proposal to move forward, we need a legislative vehicle in the form of what is called a tax code bill. And there is no state tax code bill yet. 
It is complicated but partly the issue is related to the state budget impasse.
We anticipate that we will be successful in achieving our goal of increased PHARE funding with a bill in the fall. Thanks to everyone who has advocated for and continues to advocate for this funding increase!
We are actively analyzing the new Whole Home Repair Program and gaining the perspective of many of the local administrators.
Stay tuned for more information from us in the fall.
While we have been very focused on increasing funding for affordable housing through the state PHARE program, we are advocating for and tracking and monitoring a host of other state bills.
Check out Aaron’s update below for more information.
….because money is not the only answer to our challenges, sometimes it is about the programs and the way they are delivered
So many of you serve as somewhat of a mediator between private market landlords and low-income households who are seeking affordable housing. Sometimes you are called “housing locators”, sometimes “landlord liaisons.”
Rather than leave a family on their own, you contact landlords with whom you have built relationships and attempt to help the family access a rental housing unit in a very competitive market.
500 of you registered for our July 25 Housing Locator (Virtual) Summit. We covered a range of financial and service incentives that can be offered to landlords to persuade them to prioritize for available housing units the households you are serving.
Rental prices have skyrocketed, and some landlords are even calling it quits. Clearly there is a deep desire to identify how to best engage with and attract landlords in a post-pandemic world.
Below you will find our new fact sheets on incentives that could be put in place in your community to engage and incentivize landlords to rent to households that they might otherwise screen out.
A few weeks back I circulated a survey asking for information on any shortage of contractors in your community and your understanding of the reasons for the shortage including but not limited to state prevailing wage requirement challenges.
Thanks to those who responded!
I have been delving into your survey responses and asking a few of you for follow up information.
I am using it formulate some initial ideas of how we might address the challenge.
While we are not expecting to solve all of the problems of the overall workforce shortage, I expect that there is some work that we can do together to alleviate the challenges that you experience.
It’s what we at the Housing Alliance always try to do.

In Partnership,

Phyllis Chamberlain, Executive Director