The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency recently approved the distribution of $1.27 million for Bradford County to use towards low-income and senior citizen housing projects.

The legislation proposing the funds, named the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act or P.H.A.R.E., was introduced by Senator John Pippy and authorizes a $10 million annual appropriation for affordable housing activities in Pennsylvania.

The money comes from state impact fee income paid by natural gas drilling companies in 2011.

The funds are not part of the $8.4 million Bradford County received from Act 13 from gas companies, rather a part of a local share from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. About $500,000 has been approved to redevelop part of the 400 block of Main Street in Towanda.

According to P.H.A.R.E. project summaries, the new building will include 36 apartments for seniors 62 and older on the second, third, and fourth floors. The ground floor will be used for commercial space or a retail storefront. The entire project is expected to cost approximately $11 million. $500,000 has also been approved for a proposed townhouse complex in Wyalusing named Wyalusing Meadows. The project outlines construction of fifty new general occupancy affordable rental townhouses on an 83 acre parcel near the intersection of Route 6 and State Street. According to Construction Journal, the project's estimated value is $9.1 million.

The final $275,000 of housing money approved for Bradford County is to rehabilitate existing rental properties in exchange for a commitment from landowners to rent apartments to low-income residents for seven years. According to the P.H.F.A. website, a minimum of 14 rental properties will be rehabilitated with the maximum expenditure for a single project being $18,000. Eligible projects for the money include upgrades to become more energy efficient, required repairs to stay in compliance with housing codes, environmental hazard reduction (such as lead paint), and repairs and upgrades related to livability for tenants.

According to Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency director of business development Bryce Maretzki, "The money will not be used to help people pay for rent, but instead it will be used to make living conditions better."

The approved P.H.A.R.E. legislation also outlined $80,000 for Sullivan County residents that will help with rent payments. Approximately 40 households are expected to benefit from the fund allocation.