PA budget funds statewide Whole-Home Repairs Program | The Homepage
By Juliet Martinez
The state budget signed July 8 funded a one-stop shop where homeowners in Pennsylvania can get home repair assistance. The Whole-Home Repairs Program received $125 million to administer grants of up to $50,000 for homeowners and loans for landlords with up to five properties.
The program funds support staff for homeowners needing repairs and training and pre-apprenticeship programs so local workforces can grow to meet demand for home repair services.
In a statement for The Homepage, Sen. Saval wrote, “This is a hard-fought victory for every Pennsylvanian who is struggling to stay in their home. This program is a direct investment in our people and our communities, whose needs have been ignored, and whose voices have gone unheard.”
Hazelwood homeowners need affordable home repair
The need for this program is dire, as shown by the flood of applications for Hazelwood Initiative’s Discount Home Repair program since March. It opened with close to $200,000 in funds to subsidize home repairs for moderate- and low-income homeowners. The program covers 50-90% of the cost up to $12,000. The funds were expected to last two years.
But by late June, all the money was committed. Of 28 initial applications, 20 residents are now participating. Two applicants withdrew and six were placed on a waiting list that has grown to 26.
“We launched our discount home repair program because homeowners who can afford to fix their homes can stay in the community. We want our older residents to be able to age in place while younger families enjoy safety, health and stability. Home repair assistance helps all of that happen.” Sonya Tilghman, Hazelwood Initiative Executive Director
Half the homes in Pennsylvania were built before 1965, but Greater Hazelwood’s housing stock is much older. According to 2020 census data, 65% of housing units in Hazelwood were built before 1939.
In January, Sen. Saval emailed The Homepage, “These aging homes are on the frontline of our housing crisis. Home repairs and weatherization are essential to preserving and protecting existing housing stock, but for many Pennsylvanians, these are prohibitively expensive.”
Hazelwood Initiative executive director, Sonya Tilghman, said home repair assistance is vital for preventing displacement.
“We launched our discount home repair program because homeowners who can afford to fix their homes can stay in the community,” she said. “We want our older residents to be able to age in place while younger families enjoy safety, health and stability. Home repair assistance helps all of that happen.”
Because the statewide program will not only help homeowners, but also landlords with up to five properties, the benefits will extend to renters as well.
“Home repairs are a matter of housing justice, energy justice, public health, and community stability, regardless of whether a person owns or rents their home,” Sen. Saval wrote.
The Whole-Home Repair Program will be administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, according to Natasha Cahill, communications director for Sen. Saval. To get updates on the program, sign on as a supporter at www.pasenatorsaval.com/wholehomerepairs or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to receive updates on Whole-Home Repairs.
Juliet Martinez is the managing editor of The Homepage.