Our Issues

Thank you for your quick action on SB 109!
Take a moment and please send a thank you to your members in the legislature and the Governor saying thank you for the bipartisan effort to pass Senate Bill 109 creating the Emergency Rental and Utility Program.
Senate Bill 109 needs to pass the House of Representatives, NOW!
Today, we expect the House to vote on Senate Bill 109 (SB109). SB 109 creates a new Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program from the most recent COVID-19 relief package and already passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The Housing Alliance is asking you to call your Representative and tell them to vote for SB109 with an amendment removing the 2% cap to administer the new program.
 
Let's get this legislation passed so that we can begin our work on making sure the Commonwealth Comes Back Strong for all Pennsylvanians! Tenants and landlords are struggling and need help now!
 
Action Alert: Call Your Members of Congress
Congressional leaders have reached a deal on an emergency COVID-19 relief bill that includes critical housing provisions like $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and an extension of the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium through January 31.

Contact your members of Congress and urge them to quickly enact this vital relief legislation!

It is estimated that $852,182,000 will be allocated to Pennsylvania to provide critical financial assistance to tenants and landlords. The COVID-19 Relief Package also includes:
  • Provides $600 direct payment checks for every adult and child earning up to $75,000. 
  • Extends enhanced unemployment benefits for jobless workers, who will receive up to $300 per week through mid-March. Self-employed people and gig workers will also receive extended assistance.
  • Extends the Coronavirus Relief Fund deadline from December 30, 2020 to December 31, 2021; this fund was used to create the CARES Rent Relief through PHFA 
  • Sets a permanent floor for the 4% credit in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. This change will make it easier to secure the financing needed for affordable housing projects and will assist in restarting stalled LIHTC projects throughout the country
 
Thank you for your advocacy
Call your legislators today to fix the CARES Rent Relief Program
Call your House Representatives and Senators today and tell them they must vote on and pass amendments to the CARES Rent Relief Program. 
 
Tell them that House Bill 2868 should be their top priority, protecting both renters and landlords from the unprecedented economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Pennsylvania is at risk to see a drastic rise in evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness.
Tell your Senators to Support Critical Housing Relief

The COVID-19 pandemic has excerbated our nation's housing crisis. While some proposals have only just been introduced, the Senate should act now on measures already passed by the House, including:

-The HEROES Act, HR 6800, which passed the House in May, and would provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, and billions more for mortgage assistance, and people experiencing homelessness;

-The Moving Forward Act, HR 2, which passed in the House in July and would expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, and invest billions more in housing repair, preservation, and production.

Thousands of homeowners, renters, and people experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania need help -- and our Senators must take action. 

Call your House Representative and ask them to vote YES on SB 30
Please call your House Representative to urge them to vote for the final passage of SB 30 when it is considered by the PA House of Representatives.
 
To get your Representative's phone number, please enter your address below.
 
Thank you! We know we can get this done if you help us to raise attention to this issue 
Ask the General Assembly to improve the CARES Rent Relief Program
The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania applauds the General Assembly for allocating $150 million in federal CARES Act funds to the CARES Rent Relief Program administered at the local level in all 67 counties and at the state level by the PA Housing Finance Agency (PHFA.)
 
We have a number of concerns with aspects of the program that are resulting in delays in getting the funds in the hands of tenants who need assistance in paying rent and landlords who – without stable rent – may have difficulty meeting their own operational obligations.
 
We are requesting that the General Assembly considers and makes the following improvements to the program as soon as possible.
 
  1. Extend the deadline for applications to October 31, 2020
  2. Increase the maximum amount of rental assistance per month on 130% of the HUD Fair Market Rent of a two-bedroom unit for the area in which the property is located
  3. Eliminate the requirement that households be 30 days in arrears to be eligible for assistance
  4. Replace requirement to waive rights to remaining rent or mortgage obligation upon acceptance of assistance with the option to forgive OR participate in another alternative remedy that could be mutually beneficial to both the tenant and landlord.
  5. Clarify that 5% of funds can be utilized for administrative costs for the local administering agencies
In addition, we support additional changes that PHFA may offer that result in streamlining the application process so that households in need can access this desperately needed resource quicker and more efficiently.
 
Please use this page to send a letter to your State Senator and State House Representative and ask them to fix the CARES Rent Relief Program 
 
Sign on to a letter to Governor Wolf to Ask for an Extension of the Eviction Moratorium
The Housing Alliance works with many groups who provide housing assistance across the state, and we are all concerned that a large wave of evictions will lead to homelessness for many families. Especially now that school is not an option for many families, childcare is also a major issue for families. This is an unsafe situation for Pennsylvanians, and could create additional burden on the state’s already stressed homelessness system.
 
Sign on to the letter to Gov. Wolf and ask him to extend the eviction moratorium. 
Ask Governor Wolf to extend the Eviction Moratorium
On July 10 the moratorium on evictions in Pennsylvania will expire, but most people are still not back to work, and new federal and state resources have only just become available. That's why we are asking Governor Wolf to extend the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent at least until the Fall. We need to give more time for people to receive available aid, get back to work, and to stay safe in their homes. 
 
Call Governor Wolf's office today and ask him to extend the eviction moratorium. 
Support Statewide Rental Assistance for People Economically Impacted by COVID-19
Economic forecasts tell us that the recovery, when it begins, will be slow and some jobs may not immediately return. Low income households are disproportionately represented among those impacted by temporary job loss and with little savings to pay rent and utilities will likely get behind in meeting their basic needs. Initial estimates indicate that at least 15 percent of renter households or 200,000 Pennsylvania households will be impacted by COVID-19 related job loss or reduced work hours. As a result, many small landlords will also be affected. Individual investors own 76% of all single-family rental homes and 77% of all small rental buildings with two to four units. Rental Assistance is the most direct way to alleviate the economic pressure for landlords and tenants alike.
 
The Housing Alliance encourages all Senators to join Sen. Killion and co-sponsor his legislation to create a statewide rental assistance program to stabilize the rental housing market for both low-income tenants and landlords.
 
Use this page to send a message to your State Senator and ask them to co-sponsor rental assistance legislation. 
 
Ask your Member of Congress to Prevent Delays in Affordable Housing Construction
 
Rep. Dwight Evans is circulating two letters that will help to ensure that affordable housing development continues. The first letter is to the Congressional Leadership and asks for the following regarding tax credits:
 
Enact a minimum 4% credit rate used to finance acquisitions and Housing Bond-financed developments. LIHTC rates fluctuate in response to market interest movements. Tied to declining federal borrowing rates, the value of the 4% credit rate is closer to 3% – the lowest it has ever been. Fixing the credit rate of 4% and increasing the certainty of the cash flows would decrease the cost of affordable housing development.
 
Enact a 50% basis boost for developments serving extremely low-income tenants. COVID-19 has stressed an already vulnerable housing situation for the lowest-income Americans and underscored the need to direct federal resources towards communities and projects with the most need. Providing a 50% basis boost in qualified costs, increasing tax credits and investment equity, for developments serving extremely low-income and homeless families, would make such projects much more financially feasible.
 
The second letter is to the Treasury Department to encourage extending extensions of deadlines:
 
 
  • Provide a 12-month extension of the 10% test deadline for carryover allocations as required by IRC Section 42(h)(1)(E)(ii) and IRS regulation 1.42-6.
  • Provide a 12-month extension of the placed in service deadline as required in IRC Section 42(h)(1)(E)(i)
  • Provide a 12-month extension of the 24-month minimum rehabilitation expenditure deadline as required by IRC Section 42(e)(3) and IRC Section 42(e)(4)
 Please ask your Members of Congress to sign on to both letters by sending them an email in the action page provided. 
Thank you for supporting the State Housing Tax Credit (SB 30)
Thank your Senator for voting for the State Housing Tax Credit - SB 30. 
Tell Senators that you support the State Housing Tax Credit
The Senate appropriations committee is voting later today on SB 30, the State Housing Tax Credit. This legislation would create needed investment opportunities in affordable housing. 
Let your Senator know about the positive economic impact of affordable housing
The Housing Alliance recently released an Economic Impact Brief that shows the positive economic impact of building and rehabilitating affordable housing. 
 
Share this brief with your Senator here to make sure they know how the State Housing Tax Credit could have positive economic impact. 
Thank Senators for Supporting PHARE
Write a message here to the Senators who co-sponsored the expansion of PHARE legislation for their support. With their support, the $15 million expansion of the PHARE program was added to the final budget bill. 
Ask your State Senator to co-sponsor legislation to expand PHARE
PHARE is the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund.
 
Also known as the state housing trust fund, PHARE expands opportunity for people in need and
revitalizes communities. It creates, rehabs, and supports local housing, and expands supportive services,
homeownership counseling, home purchase, and blight remediation programs.
 
Currently, the amount of funds from the state’s Realty Transfer Tax (RTT) dedicated to PHARE is capped at $25 million annually. We urge the state legislature to lift the cap so that funds from the real estate market can be reinvested in affordable housing opportunities for Pennsylvania residents and families.
Oppose Accelerated Eviction

HB 71 - the Accelerated Eviction bill passed out of the House Urban Affairs Committee on May 14. Please contact your state representative today to ask them to oppose Accelerated Eviction when it comes to the floor. 

 

The Accelerated Eviction Bill shortens the time period for eviction of a residential tenant from twenty one days to twelve. The Housing Alliance believes in a balance between the rights of landlords and tenants. However, without adequate time to find alternative housing, low-income Pennsylvanians and their families are more likely to face homelessness and as a result lose employment and income, or be displaced from schools and community. These costs would also likely extend to state and local governments, in the form of increased need for emergency social services, foster care services for children separated from parents due to lack of shelter, and beyond.

 

The Housing Alliance opposed similar legislation, HB 1875, in the previous legislative session.  

 

The Housing Alliance appreciates your time and advocacy.  

 

 

Protect General Assistance

Reach Out to Your Legislators to Protect General Assistance! 

 

General Assistance (GA) is under attack in the General Assembly. The bill that would end GA - HB 33 - could be up for a vote on the PA House floor soon! 

 

Reach out to your House Representative and let them know you're concerned about the GA program! 

 

Please let these legislators know:

  • GA serves PA's most vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, their caregivers, people in treatment for a substance use disorder, people fleeing domestic violence, and children being cared for by friends or neighbors;
  • GA is a small, targeted, and usually only temporary program;
  • GA can keep people out of shelters;
  • GA helps survivors of domestic violence; and 
  • GA can function as a loan for people applying for SSI -- the state is reimbursed for GA funds when people are approved for SSI. 
     

More information about the General Assistance program to discuss with legislators can be found here.

 

Thank you for your advocacy!

 

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania 

End the Government Shutdown

We are reaching out today and asking that you to send a letter to your representatives and senators about the harmful impact of the current government shutdown. 

 

The federal government has been shutdown for over 4 weeks. As the shutdown continues, more homeless, housing and community development organizations and their communities are facing immediate risk of losing funding and resources.

 

Although Congress has been working on ending this shutdown, many federal agencies only have until the end of February to provide various program resources like Section 8 Vouchers, SNAP, etc.

 

As of today, the shutdown could continue past February leaving many federal agencies with no funding or resources to provide to agencies and constituents. 

  

We are asking you to contact your representatives and senators to end this shutdown. 

Ask your Senator to co-sponsor State Housing Tax Credit Legislation
Pennsylvania is in need of affordable housing opportunities for low-income residents. A state housing tax credit will increase the viability of affordable housing projects for developers and private investors looking to build or rehabilitate properties.
 
That's why we need you to ask your state senator to co-sponsor this important legislation. 
Thank Senators for sponsoring SB 1185, the Pennsylvania State Housing Tax Credit
Sen. Killion introduced the State Housing Tax Credit legislation, SB 1185, in the Senate. Sen. Killion (R-9) is the prime sponsor and the original co-sponsors include: Sen. Killion (R-9), Sen. Argall (R-29), Sen. Blake (D-22), Sen. Browne (R-16), Sen. Fontana (D-42), Sen. Gordner (R-27), Sen. Hughes (D-7), Sen. Leach (D-17), Sen.  McGarrigle (R-26), Sen. Vogel (R-47), Sen.  Vulakovich  (R-38), and Sen.  Yudichak (D-14.)

We are pleased to see this forward momentum and we look forward to working with all of these legislators to increase affordable housing opportunities.
 
Send the co-sponsors a thank you note!
Call and Ask Rep. Rothfus to Vote NO on Housing Benefit Cuts
Hello,
 
Conservative members of Congress are trying to pass two bills in the House Financial Services Committee that would cut housing benefits that help America’s poorest seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other people who can’t afford to keep a roof over their heads. Rent increases, arbitrary work requirements, and other measures being discussed will only leave more people without a stable home. This will make it harder – not easier – for low income families to climb the economic ladder and live with dignity. We are asking our members to call Representative Rothfus (PA12), who is on the Committee, and ask him to vote no on Representative Ross’ proposal and Representative Turner’s bill HR 2069.
 
Below is a sample script you can use to call Representative Rothfus' office.
 
DRAFT SCRIPT.
  • Hi, my name is X and I live in Representative Rothfus’ district. I am calling today because I am concerned about two bills that would impose rent increases and work requirements on the poorest families.
  • Rep. Ross’ draft bill proposes several different rent structures public housing authorities could implement. All of these would raise rents and create time limits, which would impose huge burdens on the poorest families – including seniors, people with disabilities and children. The increased burdens on these families could lead to increased evictions and homelessness. Please vote no on this bill when it is introduced.
  • Representative Turner’s bill “Fostering Stable Opportunities Act” HR 2069, is concerning because it would impose new burdens – the first ever for individuals who rely on federal housing assistance – including work, education, training, and self-sufficiency requirements. While the bill provides a grace period for compliance, H.R. 2069 sets a troubling and unacceptable precedent. Federal housing programs help prevent homelessness and housing poverty. Requiring households to meet new eligibility requirements is counterproductive to this purpose. Please vote no on HR 2069.
  • Thank you for your time.
Ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor Legislation to Create a State Housing Tax Credit
The housing gap continues to grow in PA. There are only 38 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low income renter households. Programs like PHARE and other Federal programs are making it possible to help people get back on their feet. Even with great programs and policies in place like the state housing trust fund called PHARE and the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, we can and should do more. We know the solutions that work, we need more resources to bring them to scale.
 
That's why we are asking the Legislature create a State Housing Tax Credit. This tax credit will create more resources for affordable rental housing. 
 
Sen. Killion is circulating a co-sponsorship memo for legislation to create a State Housing Tax Credit. Will you ask your Senator to sign on? 
Contact House Urban Affairs Committee Members to Oppose HB 1875
Contact Members of the House Urban Affairs Committee to Oppose HB 1875! 

HB 1875 – Accelerated Eviction - effectively shortens the time period for eviction of a residential tenant from twenty one days to twelve, would make it more difficult for low-income Pennsylvanians and their families in this challenging circumstance to secure alternative housing or face homelessness and all of the attendant problems – including loss of employment and income, and displacement from schools and community.  These costs would also likely extend to state and local governments, in the form of increased need for emergency social services, foster care services for children separated from parents due to lack of shelter, and beyond.

Prior to 1996, it took a minimum of 31 days in PA to physically remove a renter post-judgment.  The Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 5, Section 10(c), confers the power to establish court procedures on the Supreme Court. The General Assembly enacted legislation to amend the eviction and appeals process via Acts 33 and 36 of 1995, but the PA Supreme Court suspended those laws in 1996 and handed down its own rules - putting into place the current, faster eviction process. HB 1875 seeks to shorten this time period further. In the process, it intrudes on the Constitutional authority of the courts.

The current 21-day waiting period represents an appropriate balance of interests between landlords and tenants that should be maintained. The Housing Alliance opposed similar legislation, HB 1715, in the previous legislative session.  

HB 1875 is currently being considered by the House Urban Affairs Committee. The Housing Alliance asks you to urge Committee members to vote NO on HB 1875.

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