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Home repairs program making big difference in Pa. [opinion]

Imagine the thrill of buying a new home, filled with joy and anticipation of the memories, laughter and love to come. You know homeownership is a big step and will be a lot of work. However, you are ready for the challenge, believing it’s worth it.

Suddenly, you are caught off-guard by unexpected and daunting problems — electric outlets blow out, baseboard heaters fail and various structural issues make your dream home unsafe. Your hopes and aspirations disappear as they are replaced with the anxiety of keeping your family safe. Not long after purchasing your home, you find yourself in an Airbnb, struggling to figure out what to do.

This is the harsh reality Dominique Young and her family found themselves in. Their path took a hopeful turn when she discovered the Whole Home Repairs program. “I filled out that application so fast,” she recalls.

The program addressed her home’s critical needs, replacing the faulty heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, eliminating the need for unreliable baseboard heaters and repairing structural damage such as rotten beams and collapsing kitchen floors.

Rick and Pebbles Seay, living in a home built in the 1950s, faced their own set of challenges. After Rick learned about the Whole Home Repairs program, he applied and was approved for funds to carry out significant improvements. These included installing new gutters, replacing windows and making their bathroom accessible.

“For my wife and I, these renovations are a true blessing,” Rick said, encouraging others to persevere through the application process. “If you want to apply for the Whole Home Repairs Program, stick with the process and be patient — because for my situation they did what they said they were going to do, and now my home is being repaired.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $50 million investment in the Whole Home Repairs program underscores his administration’s commitment to reducing high housing costs and supporting Pennsylvania families. His proposed budget not only proposes innovative solutions to these issues but builds on his historic expansion of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, which has provided the largest targeted tax cuts for Pennsylvania seniors in nearly two decades.

The Whole Home Repairs program aims to maintain more families in their homes by offering grants to low- and moderate-income homeowners for essential repairs, safety improvements and energy-efficient upgrades. Additionally, it extends loans to small landlords to foster the availability of safe, affordable housing units.

Administered by local governments or nonprofits, this $50 million initiative is experiencing high demand, with a growing waiting list in counties across the state. This budget represents a significant investment in the core tenet of the American dream: homeownership.

This initiative not only enhances the quality and safety of living environments but also revitalizes communities and supports economic growth by opening pathways to construction jobs. As the program has been a model for other states, it demonstrates a successful approach to improving housing conditions while managing state funds prudently. With $14 billion in reserves, Pennsylvania is positioned to invest in its communities meaningfully, ensuring that even after all initiatives are funded, significant reserves will still support future needs.

Dominique, the Seays, and countless others across Pennsylvania highlight the transformative impact of the Whole Home Repairs program. Their stories make the call to action clear: Fully fund the program to affirm our commitment to building a stronger, more affordable Pennsylvania where every family has the opportunity to thrive.

Jack R. Gombach is a government affairs consultant with McNees Strategic Solutions Group and a former West Reading Borough Council president.

Source: Berkshire mont

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