The application process for the wildly popular Whole Home Repairs Program is set to begin on Aug. 1 for Dauphin County residents. The program will be administered through the Dauphin County Department of Community and Economic Development.
Dauphin County Commissioners held a meeting on Wednesday highlighting how the county will roll out applications for the Whole Home Repairs Program.
“We appreciate the state providing us this funding. The need is there. The need is great, and a lot of people are going to be the recipients of this money,” said Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries in an interview on the program.
Demand for the program can be seen in counties across the commonwealth. Allegheny County received over 2,600 applications for 250 spots, and Lehigh County stopped accepting applications for the program eight hours after they opened the process.
The Whole Home Repairs Program received $125 million in funding in its first year as a program. It now has a dedicated funding stream in the proposed 2023-2024 budget and is funded to the tune of $50 million.
Starting Aug. 1, Dauphin County residents will be able to apply online, or on paper if they do not have access to the internet. The county is expecting to repair between 80 to 100 properties with the funds they’ve been awarded, but those spots can fill up quickly given the widespread popularity of the program.
In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must earn 80% or less of the Area Median Income. In Dauphin County, families making under $53,000 a year would be eligible.
According to a presentation provided by the Dauphin County Department of Community and Economic Development, the county received $2.8 million from the state for the Whole Home Repairs Program and it will be modeled based on the county’s existing HOME Rehabilitation Program.
The funding for the program will be split three ways. $2.1 million will go towards repairing homes, while $400,000 will go towards a workforce development and training program and the remaining $311,000 will be allocated for planning and administrative costs.
After the application process opens in August, the Dauphin County Department of Community and Economic Development will begin searching for contractors to work on the homes. House inspections and walk-throughs will happen in the winter and if everything goes as planned, renovations on the houses will begin in the Spring 2024.
At the meeting, there was an emphasis on how some of this funding can positively impact those who have been affected by the criminal justice system and help with reentry.
“It’s not limited to this group but we believe that there is an important focus on those that have had impact from the criminal justice system. So we believe that there is an opportunity for us to train and place individuals that have been impacted by the criminal justice system and this is also again leveraging our work with fair chance hiring practices,” said Jesse McRee, CEO of SCPa Works.
SCPa Works is a region-wide workforce development board that serves eight counties in South Central Pennsylvania.
“Being thoughtful in the planning and the ability for us to execute the program, I think provides some incredible opportunities to folks who otherwise might not have the opportunities to do construction work,” said Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick in an interview following the meeting.
“Hopefully we figure out a way to use this in a process of reentry and reemployment for individuals with a higher level of skills and trades within our community.”
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