A small change could generate more money for affordable housing in Pa.

Written by on June 30, 2021

A small change could generate more money for affordable housing in Pa.

By Margaret Krauss / WESA
June 30, 2021

Image by Sephelonor from Pixabay

A small change in Harrisburg could generate more money to address Pennsylvania’s affordable housing crisis. The state’s realty transfer tax annually generates millions to support housing, but it could be a lot more.

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 The money goes to the Pennsylvania Housing and Rehabilitation Enhancement or PHARE program. It helps people in all 67 counties access safe, decent, and affordable homes.

Revenue from the transfer tax has gone up more than 10% in the past five years but state law caps the PHARE program at $40 million. 

Bryce Maretzki is director of policy and planning for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which administers the program. 

“We have received about $37 million more of requests than we’ve been able to fulfill,” Maretzki says. 

State Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Allegheny) says she’s interested in raising the cap. 

“Directing more funds that are collected because of the transfer of properties across Pennsylvania to help people get into affordable homes or end homelessness or provide other housing stability, it’s a win-win,” Innamorato says. 

However, Innamorato says it’s unlikely to change this year. Lawmakers are focused instead on the state budget, and what to do with billions of dollars in federal covid relief. 

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