A housing trust fund is a flexible, sustainable revenue source to support the range of housing development, blight, homeownership and homelessness work that local communities need. In December 2010, Pennsylvania became the 38th state to establish a State Housing Trust Fund known as “PHARE,” the PA Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act or Act 105, administered by the PA Housing Finance Agency.
Governor Tom Wolf in November signed into law an expansion of the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act (PHARE), the State’s Housing Trust Fund. Act 58 will expand the Housing Trust Fund’s revenue and reach to all 67 counties with revenue drawn from future growth in the existing Realty Transfer Tax, redirecting it back into the residential real estate market. Until now PHARE was funded by a portion of Marcellus Shale drilling impact fees and was limited to use by the 37 Pennsylvania counties that host drilling wells.
The program is an undisputed success. Over 2,900 families and individuals have been helped through rental assistance, utility assistance, purchase assistance, homeowner repairs, rental rehabs, new construction, or substantial rehab of vacant properties for affordable homes. Another 287 sites have been acquired and/or demolished for future homes within reach of people with low incomes. The $26.2M invested so far has leveraged another $191M.