New Pennsylvania Legislation Enables Communities to Tackle Affordable Homes, Degradation


Towns in Pennsylvania now have more power to use tax breaks to encourage the building of affordable housing, whether in the middle of a city or a rural area.

Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Philadelphia, proposed House Bill 581, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law on Monday.

It expands the choices available to taxing authorities for granting tax breaks and subsidies or incentives to construct or renovate affordable housing.

The law received support in both metropolitan regions with rising rents and rural areas where it is difficult to rehabilitate abandoned houses.

Setting The Pace

The manner in which this measure was passed, according to Solomon, may serve as an example of how parliament and state can collaborate.

The fascinating aspect of this measure is that its effects will be felt daily by Philadelphia residents. They will observe the construction of new affordable housing units in communities where they have never been.

As reported earlier by The Center Square, house prices in Pennsylvania increased by 14% between 2020 and 2021. Numerous counties and cities in the state are not constructing sufficient homes or flats to meet demand.

In other places where the population is decreasing, run-down buildings bring down property prices, but the counties don’t have enough money to tear them down.

Act 58 intends to solve both issues.

Townships, boroughs, and cities may offer ten-year tax breaks on multi-unit structures if at least 30% of the units qualify as affordable housing or if the project restores a blighted property.

The law also authorizes local governments to waive or reimburse the property tax debt of low-income families owing to changes in real estate taxes or assessments.

A Step in the Right Direction

Solomon stated it is merely one of the local tools required to provide Pennsylvanians and Philadelphians with essential affordable housing.

There is no magic bullet that will solve all of the supply chain problems they’re facing right now, but he believes it helps.

Instead of mandating state-led housing building, the bill strengthens local autonomy.

The expansion of the housing stock will be the responsibility of municipalities, boroughs, and cities; the state will not penalize them if they fail to grow the affordable housing pool.

The General Assembly also considered and included a separate home repair measure to address aged homes in the budget. There will undoubtedly be more state-level action in the future.

Solomon brought up the difficulty that low-income Pennsylvanians have in obtaining a housing voucher, as well as the long wait lists that are associated with these vouchers. This comes along with the need to ensure that fewer tenants are cost-burdened.

Solomon stated the only way to accomplish this is through a proper, robust voucher program that provides individuals with the necessary housing and allows them to exit the system once they can afford the mortgage or rent.

This is the standard method for demonstrating the ability to reform housing prices and policies. 


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