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Published on March 30, 2024
Gov. Shapiro Advocates for $50M Boost to Pennsylvania Whole-Home Repairs Program during Philly VisitSource: Facebook/Office of the Governor of Pennsylvania

It's hammer time in Pennsylvania as Governor Josh Shapiro is laying out the big bucks for home repairs. In a Philadelphia pit stop, the Governor, along with local legislative big shots, hustled support for a proposed $50 million boost to the Whole-Home Repairs Program. A tour of resident Dominique Young's gussied-up digs, courtesy of the program, was the backdrop for today's grandstanding.

According to Shapiro, dropping cash on the program is a no-brainer for keeping Pennsylvanians' cost of living down. Fresh off the tour, he witnessed the struggles and victories of homeowners like Young. Having received funding for critical repairs, including an HVAC overhaul and structural fixes, Young gushed about the program's impact: "They repaired the whole HVAC system, so I don’t have to use the baseboard heaters anymore," she told officials. "I had rotten beams in the kitchen, and the floors were about to cave in, so they redid the floors in the kitchen." Shapiro's budget pitch promises more of the same for homeowners across the state, as per the official press release from the Pennsylvania Government website.

Grants and loans from the program aren't just about new paint jobs. They're crafted to tackle crucial blips and energy-efficient upgrades, targeting both low- and moderate-income homeowners and small landlords. Philly's tale is a clear signal of success, with over 11,000 applications for a piece of the program's pie in 2023, and an average payout of nearly $10K to lucky homeowners. Numbers don't lie – with more than 22,000 applications statewide, and close to 2,500 expected to hit the jackpot, the demand is through the roof. Still, the waiting list is a crowded place – 17,000 hopefuls in line, tapping feet impatiently.

Senator Nikil Saval, the brains behind the operation, can barely contain his pride. Having fathered the program back in March 2022, he's witnessing its toddler steps in real-time, fixing homes and lives across Pennsylvania. "By fixing our homes, we’re simultaneously stabilizing communities, preventing abandonment and displacement, building a skilled workforce to keep our state at the forefront of the industries of the future, and protecting the place that is most dear to all of us – home," Saval was quoted saying in the official release.

Talking dollar and sense, Shapiro's 2024-25 budget ain't just about patching up homes. There's talk of upping the ante on the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation and Enhancement (PHARE) Fund to the tune of $10 million a year for the next four years. The aim is twofold – fix up cribs that have seen better days and pump out new ones. They're also splashing $5 million in go-with-the-flow grant funding for cities and counties to tackle housing crises head-on until Uncle Sam or other moneybags can step in.