Housing News of the Week 2.5.20

Check out the recent news below to see what is happening this week in Housing News.

Killion’s affordable housing bill passes Senate
Somerset Daily American
Senate Bill 30, introduced by state Senator Tom Killion, R-9 of Middletown, that would establish a state housing tax credit to incentivize private investment to create new and preserve existing affordable rental housing, passed the Senate unanimously. “Seniors, individuals with disabilities, families and children benefit from greater availability of affordable housing,” said Killion. “And this program will promote the job creating and economic potential of private rental developers by incentivize financing to return blighted and abandoned homes to productive reuse.” According to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (HAP), the Commonwealth is faced with a shortage of housing that is available and affordable, especially for households making 30 percent of median family income. (to read more, click the link above)

Governor Wolf Lays Out his Budget Priorities for 2020, Housing Program Funding Remains Stable
website of Governor Tom Wolf
On Tuesday, Feb. 4, Governor Wolf delivered his annual budget address laying out his priorities for the year. In the speech he emphasized workforce development, gun safety, and investments in education. The Governor also asked for increased funding of supportive services for vulnerable populations, including seniors, people with chronic illness, and people with intellectual disabilities. In his proposed budget, all of the housing related programs in the General Fund remained at the same levels with no change from last year. Click here for a year by year budget comparison from 2008-2020. (to read more, click the link above)

Sister Mary Scullion, Philly homelessness expert, to be among lawmakers’ guests for State of the Union address
Philadelphia Inquirer
Sister Mary Scullion, Philadelphia’s nationally renowned expert on homelessness, will attend the State of the Union address Tuesday night as a guest of Philadelphia Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans. Evans, like other members of Congress, is allowed to bring one person to the House of Representatives to hear President Donald Trump’s speech. He said he chose Scullion, the executive director of Project HOME, Philadelphia’s leading homelessness advocacy agency, because “she has been a leader on poverty and homelessness for 25 years.” “What better person could I bring? I see it as a way to honor her and to highlight her work.” (to read more, click the link above)

County model in blight fight has 15 sites deemed unsafe
Sunbury Daily Item
Only one property in Sunbury wears a condemned placard, but it’s not the only one currently unfit for human habitation. Fourteen other properties of the 37 on the city’s Public Nuisance Properties List, are deemed unsafe. City officials hope they can be purchased and salvaged. History shows, however, that may be easier said than done. The city’s property maintenance officer Eric Long said the entire process can be frustrating. The property owners and their contacts on the city’s records may not be accurate, Long said. Others simply do not respond to repeated calls or notifications. “We took care of a lot of the worst ones already,” said City Administrator Jody Ocker of the Sunbury Redevelopment Authority (RDA) using the public nuisance list and eminent domain. “Now we are addressing the ones in early degradation. That’s a positive thing, that we can intervene early.”  (to read more, click the link above)

Wilkes-Barre mayor, city council turning focus to blight
PA Homepage
Blight brings down property values and threatens public safety. In Wilkes-Barre, lawmakers and residents who’ve had enough may be making headway. As Eyewitness News reported less than a week ago, residents are taking to the streets to fight blight head-on. There’s a new administration in Wilkes-Barre and council is reaffirming their commitment to that effort. “We work for the people that were here tonight in the audience,” said Mayor George Brown. “They’re the people I work for. I have to make sure that I address their needs.” Getting rid of dilapidated properties was one of Brown’s platforms when he ran for mayor. Now he says it’s time to keep that campaign promise. “For the last four years, I’ve been thinking about it — if I did decide to run for mayor and was elected, what would I do,” he said. “So I already have a lot of things on my mind that I want to address and I’ve already started on.”  (to read more, click the link above)

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