Spring Township, PA – August 28, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-06) marked the 20th Anniversary of the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) today with strong words of support and recognized 18 Pennsylvania banks for helping to bring $17.3 million in housing assistance to the region. The bankers made a recommitment to the program at today’s event.
The congressman joined nonprofit groups, developers, bankers and other community leaders for a celebratory picnic at Penns Crossing, a rental community for lower-income seniors just outside Reading, to mark the 20th Anniversary of legislation that enacted the AHP, the annual grants program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank). The AHP provides private funding for the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of lower-income affordable housing units across Pennsylvania. A companion program, now twelve years old, has also provided grants to first-time homebuyers for down payment and closing costs.
Honored for their work during today’s anniversary celebration were Berkshire Bank, Chase Bank, Citizens Bank, Community Bank, First National Bank of Chester County, First National Bank of Fredericksburg, Fleetwood Bank, Fulton Bank, Jersey Shore State Bank, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Metro Bank, National Penn Bank, Northwest Savings Bank, PNC Bank, Sovereign Bank, Susquehanna Bank, TD Bank and VIST Bank. Each bank works with nonprofit sponsors and developers to identify community housing needs, assists in grant applications, participates in funding workshops and delivers awarded grants made during competitive funding rounds.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the Federal Home Loan Bank, and more importantly, the communities it has served during the last 20 years,” said Congressman Jim Gerlach. “By using private capital, the Federal Home Loan Bank makes it possible for local lenders to reinvest in their communities and provide affordable housing to senior citizens and others throughout the 6th Congressional District.”
Each year, ten percent of FHLBank’s earnings are allocated to the AHP, which became law on August 9, 1989. Since the first AHP funding, $11.7 million in grants has helped create 2,106 units of affordable housing across Berks County and the Lebanon Valley, while another $5.6 million in first-time homeowner grants has helped lower-income families in the region close on 1,401 homes. In all, approximately $17.3 million in combined funds has supported 3,507 affordable housing units in the region. Across the Commonwealth, a total of $156.5 million in combined funds was made available since the AHP’s inception.
“AHP takes the form of gap funding, meaning that many times, our grants provide the final piece of the funding puzzle necessary to complete a project,” explained Dennis Marlo, chairman of FHLBank’s Board of Directors, who spoke at today’s event. “AHP utilizes private funds in combination with other funding programs such as the Low-income Housing Tax Credit, HOME, and the Community Development Block Grant program.”
AHP is one of the largest private sources of grant funds for affordable housing in the United States. Across the country, the twelve Federal Home Loan Banks, created by Congress 77 years ago to foster housing finance, serve a wide range of neighborhood needs including housing for seniors, the disabled, homeless families, first-time homebuyers and others with limited resources. All AHP recipients must have incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
Nationally, AHP has awarded $3.6 billion in grants, helping to build or rehabilitate more than 623,000 single- or multi-family housing units, including 391,000 units for very-low-income families. Across its district of Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, FHLBank Pittsburgh has helped fund 877 affordable housing projects with a total of 24,760 units through AHP as well as 8,224 down payment and closing cost transactions.
FHLBank Pittsburgh provides a steady stream of low-cost liquidity to local lenders in support of housing finance and community and economic development. FHLBank is privately funded and capitalized and uses no taxpayer dollars. At June 30, 2009, the Bank had 319 members in its cooperative and approximately $76 billion in assets.