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Shapiro revives Whole Home Repair Program in new budget proposal

Whole Home Repairs Program

Whole Home Repairs Program rally on the Pennsylvania Capitol steps in Harrisburg on May 1, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

April 2, 2024

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s second budget provides $80 million for housing and anti-homeless initiatives. It also includes $50 million for the popular Whole Home Repairs Program. 

Lower-income residents and homeowners across Pennsylvania may receive much needed help later this year as Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget includes $80 million to combat homelessness and Pennsylvania’s growing housing crisis. 

Restoring funding for the extremely popular Whole Home Repairs Program, which Republicans removed from last year’s budget, to the tune of $50 million is one of the top anti-homelessness and housing initiatives in Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget. 

“The Whole Home Repairs Program is a practical, commonsense way to cut costs and deliver real relief for folks all across Pennsylvania by helping them stay in – and take care of – their homes,” Shapiro recently said in a statement. “We know this is a commonsense, practical investment that works.” 

The program helps lower income homeowners and small landlords combat blight in older communities by giving them money to weatherize and make critical repairs to their homes.  

Shapiro has also called for $10 million for the Homeless Assistance Program, which provides rental assistance, bridge housing, emergency shelter, eviction protection and housing services for vulnerable residents and $5 million so cities and counties can help provide legal protections for residents facing evictions. 

Shapiro also wants to overhaul the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, which was created in 2010, by replacing the program’s funding formula with dedicated funding sources, according to Spotlight PA

It would be an understatement to call the Whole Home Repairs Program “popular” given the attention and notoriety it has gained since State Sen. Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia) began advocating for the program in 2022. 

According to the governor’s office, 59 out of Pennsylvania’s 64 counties accepted the first round of funding from the Whole Home Repairs Program that was distributed last year and they received ten times the amount of applications than homes that received needed upgrades. 

In total, the counties received over 22,000 applications from residents but were only able to fix 2,468 homes.  

Shapiro spent part of the past couple of weeks promoting the program in different parts of the commonwealth, and Rick Seay, a Dauphin County resident, explained how the Whole Home Repairs Program helped his family. 

Seay moved to the Harrisburg area more than 25 years ago and lives in a house that was built in the 1950s. Thanks to the Whole Home Repairs Program, he will be able to repair the gutters around his house, replace all the windows on the first and second floors, make roof repairs and renovate their bathroom. 

“For my wife and I, these renovations are a true blessing,” Seay said in a statement. “I truly want to encourage other people in Pennsylvania to apply to the Whole Home Repairs Program. My advice to others is: if you want to apply for the Whole Home Repairs Program, stick with the process and be patient – because for my situation they did what they said they were going to do and now my home is being repaired.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: STATE LEGISLATURE
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