New funding could revive local low-income housing programs

State College, Centre County, Pa. - The State College Borough is seeking funding for low income housing programs. And two Centre County organizations said the money is desperately needed.

Every year Morgan Wasikonis works to bridge the gap between the hopeful and the homeless.

She's the Executive Director of the Temporary Housing Foundation and she's currently working on re-vamping a home along S. Atherton and Westerly Parkway in State College.

"We're able to do that and then sell it at an affordable rate to a first-time homebuyer," Wasikonis said.

But to get the job done she'll need extra funding.

The State College Borough is able to apply for $500,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; an opportunity they've never had before.

Maureen Safko, Senior Planner for the Borough, explained as federal funding declines, housing costs are rising and two programs in our region have managed to stay afloat.

"State College Borough is so fortunate that the people here have continued to support the State College Community Land Trust and the Temporary Housing Foundation," Safko said.

Safko said the state is required to give 15% of its funding to these types of organizations.

And that extra support would balance out the borough's budget for people like Wasikonis who want to move projects forward.

"I just think the idea that you could go possibly as far as going from homeless to owning a home some day, provides a lot of hope. And the fact that we're able to provide services all along the way is really important," Wasikonis said.

Majority of the money would go towards purchasing the home and the rest would support seven programs within Housing Transitions, which provides other housing resources.

And Safko and Wasikonis agree that doing so helps rejuvenate the region.

"Home ownership is so important to the vibrancy of the community," Safko said.

"I think our community is always richer and better off when all of our community members feel valued and have opportunities," Wasikonis said.

The State College Community Land Trust would see the other half of that $500,000.

If approved by the state, this new funding will be allocated to the borough by April or May.

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