The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) was established to provide the mechanism by which certain allocated state or federal funds, as well as funds from other outside sources, would be used to assist with affordable housing. “And we are helping them do that,” Parke said. “We are grateful to receive that money.” The state’s natural gas Impact Tax provides $5 million annually to the Marcellus Shale Fund to support PHARE for addressing affordable housing in counties where unconventional gas wells are located.
Parke said COVID-19 only created greater problems for those facing housing issues. “We help hundreds of families each year,” she said.
A rent moratorium prevented tenants from being penalized or evicted by landlords during the pandemic, but now many of those people are faced with paying back rents. Kendra Parke, marketing coordinator, American Rescue Workers, said the agency is grateful to receive $100,000 for its rental assistance program.
The money will go toward three STEP programs: Supportive Housing, $265,000; Homes in Need, $225,000; and Urgent Need, $25,000. The Supportive Housing Program helps people in danger of eviction or mortgage foreclosure on their homes. “We have been receiving PHARE funding through Lycoming County for quite a few years which has been wonderful,” she said.
Rachelle Abbott, chief operations and planning officer, STEP, Inc., said her agency is grateful for its funding allocation amounting to $515,000. “PHARE is a crucial part of our overall effort to improve our economy and provide affordable housing to state residents, especially in the Northern Tier and across the Senate District I am proud to represent,” state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said.
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