Philadelphia to receive $21M grant initiative for residential home repairs

Philadelphia homeowners
State Sen. Nikil Saval (D–Philadelphia) speaks during a Whole-Home Repairs Program campaign event.
Courtesy of PA House

Homeowners and small-time landlords in Pennsylvania will potentially have the opportunity this summer to treat pre-existing home repairs and weatherize their property, thanks to a significant contribution financed by the current state budget under bipartisan legislation.

This initiative is part of the ‘Whole-Home Repairs Program‘ that aims to provide eligible homeowners who fit various requirements assistance up to $50,000 who apply for the grant.

Landlords that operate under a small operational ceiling can also potentially qualify up to the same amount in the form of a forgivable loan to address major construction issues.

The state-wide program, approved in 2022, aims to allocate nearly $40 million in funding for county-wide agencies in Pennsylvania to address the various habitability and safety concerns that may exist to help lower to middle-income families afford needed home repairs.

In addition, the program aims to alleviate some of the underlying pressures on homeowners and renters amid the current housing market. That includes the pressure of small-time landlords who raise rents amid hefty price concerns relating to construction-related expenses.

According to the 2021 ‘American Housing Survey‘ by the Census Bureau, over 300,000 homes in Pennsylvania have moderate to severe physical inadequacies, including heating, wiring, plumbing, and other upkeep-related issues.

The state-wide funds are being allocated from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which currently reflects a little over $120 million.

Last year in July, a $125 million appropriation in Pennsylvania’s 2022–2023 budget was announced by State Senator Nikil Saval (D–Philadelphia), who pushed to see this initiative come to fruition.

The City of Philadelphia is slated to receive more than $20 million of the total state funds to address the estimated $7.4 billion scale of existing basic home repairs needed among existing residential homes.

Surrounding suburban areas like Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Bucks counties, will receive a combined estimate of roughly $18 million.

State Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) is pictured during a recent event. Courtesy of PA House

Jamila Davis, who is the public information officer for the Department of Planning and Development and Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), says she appreciates this opportunity for Philadelphians in need of these resources and hopes that the funding continues ongoing as part of the state’s annual budget.

“Given the scale of the basic housing repair needs in our city — estimated at $7.4 billion — and our $21 million allocation of whole homes funds, we’ve realized that it is critical to invest in existing programs and collaborations and to maintain current income eligibility limits — 60% AMI (annual median income) — for program participants,” Davis stated. “We are working within the state guidelines to target households of greatest need.”

Davis says the Philadelphia allocated program funds will help support:

  • PHDC’s BSRP and AMP programs (serve some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents through emergency home repair and modification services.)
  • Rental Improvement Fund that will help support landlords make much-needed improvements to housing quality.
  • Work with partners at the Philadelphia Energy Authority and their “Built to Last” low-income home restoration program, which coordinates existing home repair programs to preserve existing, affordable housing.
  • Workforce development initiatives in green residential construction, HVAC, and related skills.

Pa. State Representative Jordan Harris (D), an active and vocal leader supporting the Whole-Home Repairs Program initiative, expressed his excitement to see this program take full effect.

“The Whole Home Repairs Program is crucial to helping small landlords and homeowners make much-needed repairs to their property and maintain the homes they’ve often had for generations,” said Harris. “Working families have put too much time and effort into creating a place to call home. It’s imperative that we do everything possible to ensure that they aren’t bankrupted by necessary home repairs.”

Those interested can learn more by searching the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Whole-Home Repairs Program County Contact List to find the agency that serves their specific county.

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