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Letters to the Editor

Expand housing fund's reach

| Sunday, June 21, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Housing Trust Fund provides funding for homeowner repairs, rental assistance, housing construction and other projects to communities and individuals in need.

To date, it has funneled $26 million, helping 2,800 households. However, it is available in only 37 of Pennsylvania's counties.

The state House has unanimously passed House Bill 792, which would expand the fund to all Pennsylvania counties without raising taxes. Now, the bill moves to the Senate. It is critical that senators act quickly so Pennsylvanians in need can benefit this year.

In a recent Housing Alliance study, Pittsburgh has a shortage of 21,000 affordable homes for low-income families. At Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh, we see this need daily.

As a nonprofit dedicated to building and repairing homes for local families, Habitat struggles to fund enough projects to meet this overwhelming need. We have over 500 families on our waiting list.

With expansion of the fund, Habitat would be able to renovate more homes and strengthen our region's neighborhoods.

That's why I'm asking Sen. Jay Costa to allow our neighbors to receive the assistance they need by ensuring that House Bill 792 or Senate Bill 566 reaches the floor for a vote.

I urge him to vote “yes” like his colleagues in the House.

Please do the same if you agree.

Derek Morris

The writer is volunteer coordinator and community engagement manager for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.

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