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Letters to the Editor

Expand housing trust fund

| Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, 8:55 p.m.

Our Pennsylvania Legislature recently showed that it has the will to agree when there is a common vision of the need; the solution makes sense and is proven to have an impact.

The state Housing Trust Fund, or PHARE, meets the housing need of seniors and people with disabilities, veterans and low-wage working families. It has also made a significant impact on the economy through job creation and family stability.

Housing construction and rehab have a substantial economic impact, creating up to 200 jobs for every $10 million spent and generating $2.28 for every dollar invested.

Since 2012, $34 million in PHARE funds have created more than 500 jobs and leveraged an additional $221 million into the economy. PHARE saves Pennsylvania money by decreasing shelter use, medical costs, and incarceration rates.

The expansion of PHARE, without raising taxes, will allow organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh to fund more housing development and provide stability to families in need.

By increasing access to homeownership for low-income families, they gain the opportunity to participate in their communities and contribute more fully to the local economy.

With a bill that expands PHARE on Gov. Wolf's desk, Pennsylvania has the opportunity to bring homes to within reach of every Pennsylvanian.

I urge Gov. Wolf to sign this bipartisan legislation into law without delay.

Derek Kendall-Morris

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

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