CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County will use a $60,000 grant to rehabilitate an abandoned property on Daisy Street Extension and create two affordable rental housing units.
The Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency has awarded these funds for “affordable housing rehabilitation” through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund.
The announcement was made by Lisa Kovalick, community development specialist with the Clearfield County Planning & Community Development Office, during Tuesday’s regular commissioners’ workshop meeting.
Following the county’s Housing Needs & Market Assessment in 2012, Kovalick said “safe, decent and affordable” rental housing was identified as one of the primary needs.
She said data shows a shortage in affordable and available housing units for very-low and extremely low-income renters in the 0-30 percent Area Median Income and 0-50 percent AMI ranges.
More specifically, she said there’s a shortage of 1,095 rental units per 100 rental households in the 0-30 percent AMI range and of another 375 rental units per 100 rental households in the 0-50 percent AMI range.
In Pennsylvania, a minimum wage worker earns $7.25 hourly. So, Kovalick said in order to afford fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Clearfield County, they must work 62 hours per week and 52 weeks per year.
Or she said the household must consist of 1.5 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-around in order to make the rent affordable.
She said the 2018 Fair Market Value for a two-bedroom apartment in the county is $716. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without expending more than 30 percent of income on housing, a household must earn $2,380 monthly or $28,560 annually. She said assuming a 40-hour work week year-around, this translates into a housing wage of $13.73.
In addition to the shortage in affordable housing, Kovalick said another issue is the large number of residential structures that are currently “at-risk or blighted and abandoned.”
With rehabilitation work, she said these housing units, like that on Daisy Street Extension, can become affordable rental units to improve the county’s rental housing stock and to prevent blight.
Kovalick said her office will assure this property specifically will be maintained as affordable housing units to income-qualifying households.
Currently, she said plans are for at least one of the two rental units to target low-income families who are below the 50 percent AMI range.
She said improvements will be made to the foundations and basement hatchways, windows and doors, flooring, grading, drainage, sidewalks, ventilation/exhaust, exterior conditions, structural members, roof and wall anchors, porches, stairs, chimneys, lighting, plumbing, electrical and more.
The County Planning Office will oversee the rehabilitation of the property and rental of the two units. Rehabilitation work will be completed per Pennsylvania Community & Economic Development guidelines, according to Kovalick.