Housing Trust Fund To Grow

Photo: Bradley Maule PhillySkyline.com

Amidst a massive decrease in federal funding for housing and community development, there is some good news coming out of Harrisburg.

Today, Governor Corbett signed a bill, written by Representative John Taylor (R-Northeast Philly), that authorizes the city to increase its the Housing Trust Fund by $3.5 million to $10.5 million annually. Dedicated funding for the Trust Fund comes from deed and mortgage recording fees. During the recession, these fees declined to about half their 2005 level, putting the Trust Fund at risk.

The trust fund is used by the city and community development corporations to augment other funding streams for the construction of low and moderate income housing.

The bill passed after a lobbying effort led by the 90 member Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC).

Last year, according to Rick Sauer, the PACDC executive director, the trust fund provided or improved housing for more than 850 low and moderate income households, leveraging more than $80 million in non-city funds.

The expansion of the trust fund will be paid for by an increase of $30 in the deed and mortgage recording fee.

Sauer says the trust fund increase comes at a time when federal funding for housing in Philadelphia has dropped about 30 percent in since 2010, but also as efforts are underway to secure dedicated funding through Marcellus Shale fees for a new State Housing Trust Fund. The Senate has already passed a bill that potentially would employ some of the fees for housing initiatives beyond the shale region.

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. Popkin's literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, and The Millions. He is writer-in-residence of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.



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