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State College Community Land Trust Receives $25,000 State Grant

by on April 17, 2018 6:00 AM

A $25,000 grant from the Commonwealth will help State College Community Land Trust further its mission of providing affordable home ownership in the borough.

The land trust was among the statewide initiatives to receive funding through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund, Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week.

“For many families today, too much of their paycheck goes to housing, leaving little for food, transportation and other necessities,” Wolf said in a news release. “Housing that is affordable is critical for helping families and communities thrive. That’s why I’m so pleased to announce this funding that will be used to preserve and expand the amount of affordable housing available in our state and address unmet community revitalization efforts.”

SCCLT will use the funds to assist with the rehabilitation of a house, which it will then sell to an income-qualified individual or family.

"The SCCLT recently purchased a home that will require rehabilitation and it may be that we will use the PHARE funds on that house," said Colleen Ritter, SCCLT executive director. "Some of the items that we plan on doing is to upgrade the electrical, install a new electrical service, address some health and safety issues in the house, fully renovate the bathroom and add insulation."

PHARE funding in this round was awarded to 137 housing and community development initiatives in 52 counties. Managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, PHARE is funded by a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in the state, with the goal of addressing the housing shortage caused by the impact of drilling, as well as by a portion of the realty transfer tax and money from the National Housing Trust Fund.

SCCLT's grant comes from realty transfer tax funding. Centre County also received a $22,000 grant designated to assist with rental and security deposits on behalf of households residing in host and contiguous municipalities where unconventional wells are located. The funding is a continuation of a previously awarded grant and comes from impact fee money.

In the last 20 years, SCCLT has helped more than 60 individuals and families become homeowners in the borough.

The land trust purchases houses and rehabilitates them for code compliance and energy efficiency. Applicants to buy houses through the land trust are provided education on budgeting and applying for mortgages and houses are only sold to applicants who meet federal income guidelines. The land is leased to the homeowner, reducing the ownership cost, and the house can in the future be sold to another qualifying buyer or back to SCCLT.

Ritter said SCCLT hopes to acquire and sell two homes in 2018. A resale may also become available from an existing homeowner.

Last summer the land trust broke ground on its first newly constructed homes. The GreenBuild initiative is a pair of two, 1,400 square foot, energy-efficient homes on University Drive, supported through partnerships with West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, Centre County, State College and other community partners and donors.

The GreenBuild homes are nearing completion and should be ready for sale in June, Ritter said. Sale on one is pending and some applicants are working their way through the qualifying process.

"We would encourage folks who are interested in finding out about purchasing a GreenBuild home to contact us," Ritter said.

For more information on State College Community Land Trust, visit www.scclandtrust.org



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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