Congressman English Announces $325,000 Grant for Fairview Family Homes


FAIRVIEW, PA – August 8, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Phil English (PA-3) joined Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS) and Partnership for Income Restricted Housing Leadership (PIRHL) in Fairview Township today to announce a $325,000 grant to help fund the construction of 28 single-family homes in the 7200 block of West Ridge Road.

The project, Fairview Family Homes, will provide lease-purchase affordable housing geared toward working families who earn at or below 60 percent of Erie County’s average median income. Four homes to be built will be fully accessible to special needs residents. In addition, project sponsors will establish a $50,000 escrow account, and will commit an extra $2,800 annually, to finance a comprehensive plan of social services to assist residents with financial planning, saving, credit, career counseling and workforce training skills.

“Ensuring affordable housing for working families with limited means is an integral part of improving the quality of life for all members of the community,” Congressman English said. “The development of quality three- and four-bedroom homes in Erie’s own Fairview Township will give more than 25 of our local neighbors the opportunity to have a house to call home and help put them on a path towards achieving home ownership. I salute HANDS, PIRHL, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and Northwest Bancorp for working together and bringing this significant new housing opportunity to life.”

Fairview Family Homes will be built on a 17-acre site on West Ridge Road just east of Route 98. The planned neighborhood will include public green space, a playground and a community center equipped with meeting space and a business center with Internet access. Each of the 28 units to be built will include EnergyStar-rated windows and appliances and will be digitally accessible.

Following opening and at the end of the initial 15-year period, the homes will be available for sale to renters who have saved for a down payment in the interim. This lease-purchase approach is expected to provide a cost advantage at the time of purchase.

“Ensuring affordable housing for working families is one of the cornerstones of our mission,” said Chuck Scalise, president and CEO of HANDS. “This innovative program, which we have also utilized at a location in Edinboro Township, will open the door to first-time homeownership for dozens of local residents.”

Financing for Fairview Family Homes comes from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), which provided a $1.85 million interest-free deferred payment permanent loan through its PennHOMES Program; Erie County, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Housing and Redevelopment Assistance program, which will provide a $500,000 loan; an Erie County Act 137 Affordable Housing Trust Funds grant in the amount of $45,000; and the sale of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from PHFA to generate private investment capital totaling $3.6 million.

About the partners

HANDS, an established nonprofit, provides rental housing and homeownership opportunities for lower-income and special needs individuals and the elderly. It also networks with local organizations to provide critical social services to residents of its projects. HANDS is one of Erie County and the City of Erie’s partners in homeownership initiatives and community development. It also oversees housing communities in six counties of western Pennsylvania. For more information on HANDS, call 814-459-1047.

PIRHL is a developer, owner and general contractor of affordable housing with properties under development in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland and Virginia. Over its 40-year history, it has developed more than 40 projects and owns and manages 800 units of affordable housing. PIRHL operates a regional office in Erie.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) is a wholesale bank that serves the housing finance and community and economic development needs of its owner-member financial institutions. FHLBank Pittsburgh is privately capitalized and funded, does not use taxpayer dollars and enjoys a triple-A credit rating. At June 30, 2008, FHLBank Pittsburgh had 333 members and approximately $99 billion in assets.

Today’s event was attended by northwestern Pennsylvania housing, community development and banking leaders and was held at Chestnut Street Apartments in Fairview.

">Julia Wanzco, Congressman Phil English: 202-225-5406
">Chuck Scalise, HANDS: 814-459-1047, ext. 14; cell: 814-881-0800
">Neil Cotiaux, FHLBank: 412-288-2851, cell: 412-335-9488


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