Our annual Advocacy Day, Home Matters Day, was yesterday, June 4, 2019 in Harrisburg in the Capitol Rotunda. Close to 80 members of the Housing Alliance gathered to share their stories and ask 31 legislators to invest in affordable housing by passing SB30 (the State Housing Tax Credit) & SB31 (expanding the PHARE Act).
The affordability gap between the cost of a home and what people actually make is present in every community in the state, from the most rural to the most urban. High costs force many Pennsylvania workers to over-burden themselves, paying more than they can truly afford just to give their family a place to call home. For every 100 very extremely low-income households, there are only 42 affordable units, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The proposed State Housing Tax Credit will mirror the federal low income tax credit (LIHTC) and will spur private investment in affordable housing. The federal program has been very successful in Pennsylvania to create more affordable rental housing, but it is oversubscribed. The State Housing Tax credit will help to supplement housing resources in the state like LIHTC and PHARE.
Since 2012, PHARE investments of $78 million have leveraged about $500 million from the private market, boosting local economies. Investors would spend more in Pennsylvania, but funding for the program from the Realty Transfer Tax is capped at $25 million. If not for the $25 million cap, an additional $9 million more would have been put towards Pennsylvania communities this year to create, rehab, and support local housing, and to expand supportive services, homeownership counseling, home purchase, and blight remediation programs.