Congressman Thompson Helps Celebrate Opening of New Low-income Housing
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Congressman Thompson Helps Celebrate Opening of New Low-income Housing

Boalsburg, PA – January 4, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-05) joined community and economic development leaders today to celebrate the completion of Centre Estates I and II, an 80-unit low-income housing project in Centre County made possible through a unique financial arrangement involving some of Pennsylvania’s most prominent affordable housing organizations. 

At a dedication ceremony held at the State College Elks Lodge co-hosted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) – two of about a half-dozen organizations instrumental in bringing the project to completion – Congressman Thompson greeted several Centre Estates residents and helped present a $250,000 grant from FHLBank, the financial capstone to development of the new complex.   

The grant, made under FHLBank’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP) and delivered by PNC Bank, assists in rehabilitation and construction work at Centre Estates on Jacks Mill Drive, five miles east of Penn State University’s main campus. This low-income rental complex encompasses two phases of a nine-property, 283-unit housing initiative covering seven Pennsylvania counties. Eighty of the 283 units are located on the Boalsburg site, including five reserved for the physically handicapped.

The multi-county project, spearheaded by Rural Housing Preservation Associates, LLC (RHPA) – an affiliate of Leon Weiner & Associates, a nationally renowned affordable housing developer working in concert with affordable housing developer Robert Bates of Arkport, New York –  will provide much-needed housing and onsite support services to individuals and families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income. The other apartment units are located in Clinton, Columbia, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lycoming and Perry counties.

“This project puts people into affordable homes that are upgraded and energy efficient,” said Congressman Thompson. “In this economy, this is a boon to the community and to the hardworking people who will live here and bring up their families. It is a pleasure to take part in this celebration of homes that are low in cost and high in quality.”

According to Glenn Brooks, a Leon Weiner senior vice president and chair of FHLBank’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council, RHPA’s comprehensive housing plan was largely financed through the innovative use of Low-income Housing Tax Credits sold to Maryland-based Enterprise Community Investment Corporation. By bundling the nine separate properties into one financing, sponsor RHPA was able to pool its resources, facilitating an attractively-priced purchase of tax credits by Enterprise and helping to create the economies of scale needed to pay for significant rehabilitation work on the aging properties. PHFA provided the tax-exempt bond volume cap that allowed the financing initiative to qualify for the tax credits. In addition, USDA Rural Development, another partner in the project, provided a guaranteed loan covering part of the development costs, helping to keep expenses down.

Construction at the Jacks Mill Drive site began last spring and is wrapping up. Twenty-three one-bedroom and 57 two-bedroom units have been upgraded with new energy efficient appliances, including air conditioning and dishwashers, as well as new carpeting and paint. Outside, new windows and siding were installed, a children’s playground and basketball court built, walkways improved, parking lot patched, roofing repaired and landscaping performed. A new community room was also added and will accommodate support services for the residents, including instruction in English as a second language. Approximately 30 percent of Centre Court’s residents hail from Eastern Europe.

Today’s grant from FHLBank Pittsburgh is the first to be delivered in Pennsylvania during 2010, which marks the 20th anniversary of the start of funding under its Affordable Housing Program. AHP was created by Congress in 1989 to expand the supply of rental and for-purchase housing to lower-income individuals and families through the nation’s twelve FHLBanks. The Banks, private cooperatives owned by local lenders in each Bank district, use private, not taxpayer funds in support of their mission of housing finance and community and economic development.
“This is a wonderful milestone for FHLBank, and more importantly, for the communities it has served during the last 20 years,” said John Bendel, Community Investment director for FHLBank. “By using private capital, the Federal Home Loan Bank makes it possible for a variety of neighborhoods in the Keystone State to continue their progress in providing a basic human need to thousands of men, women and children.”

FHLBank Pittsburgh provides a steady stream of low-cost liquidity to its local member-owners. At September 30, 2009, the Bank had 317 members across its district of Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and approximately $67 billion in assets.

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