Back in February, WPSU’s Emily Reddy reported on a new phenomenon in places where shale drilling has boosted the local economy — homelessness. The influx of out-of-state drillers in need of places to stay has put pressure on the low-income housing stock in heavily drilled areas of the state. The good news is a hotel building boom. But for many, rising rents have left them out in the cold, creating a homeless population for the first time in places like Tioga County.
Now the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has a pool of money to hand out for low-income housing projects in drilling areas suffering from a new housing crunch. The Pennsylvania Housing Affordibility and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, or PHARE, will provide $2.5 million collected in 2011, and an additional $5 million each subsequent year. Funds from the Impact Fee will also become available.
“The end result will be improved housing options suited to the needs of the people who live in those regions affected by the increase in natural gas drilling,” said PHFA director Brian Hudson.
PHFA will be accepting proposals up until November 2.
The agency will be holding public information sessions, including a Q&A, on drafting these proposals.