Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) last week announced $495,000 in funding through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhance Program (PHARE) to help meet the growing demand for available housing. 

“Here in the Northern Tier, we are at the epicenter of the natural gas production boom, which has created many jobs and contributed greatly to the local economy,” said Baker. 

The Potter County Homeless Prevention Program received $30,000 of the funds to provide homeless prevention services in the form of short- and medium-term rental assistance, and security and utility deposits to low-income households who are at risk of becoming homeless. Funding can also be used to re-house individuals and families who are newly homeless.

The Marcellus Shale Impact Fee was established in 2012 as a fee assessed on the natural gas drilling industry in addition to standard business taxes. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been collected through the fee each year, which is then distributed to counties to be used to help address various impacts from the industry. 

PHARE, also known as the State Housing Trust Fund, is funded by the impact fee. 

“Funding through PHARE will help repair aging, affordable housing complexes; assist low-income individuals obtain and retain housing; and help address the growing population of individuals and families who are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless,” said Baker. “These funds give the helping hand needed to ensure more people have a safe place to live.”