After drafting legislation that would reform Pennsylvania law to improve the lives of young people attempting to overcome homelessness, state Rep. Mark Rozzi is pleased to announce $164,000 in Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement/Realty Transfer Tax funding has been approved for a youth housing project in Reading.
“The population of homeless people in Pennsylvania was on the rise, even before the pandemic and economic downturn,” Rozzi said. “So, it’s rewarding to see a local organization like Mary’s Shelter continue their valuable work in our community to enrich and enable the lives of young people – regardless of their background.”
The proposed project calls for the renovation of Mary’s Shelter’s lower level. It would create 20 new housing units for at-risk youth, ages 16-22. The project includes the funds needed to create common areas, including a kitchen, dining room, living room, game room and storage space.
Mary’s Shelter, located at 615 Kenhorst Blvd., celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020. The shelter is a housing and social service agency that addresses pregnancy, parenting and youth homelessness through proactive preventative work, crisis intervention services and stabilization back into the community. Programs have been modeled after it in other Pennsylvania communities, as well as communities in Delaware, New Jersey and Texas.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Board approved the project through PHARE. Money to fund this round of competitive PHARE applications came from two sources: Marcellus Shale Impact Fees and Realty Transfer Taxes. Established in 2010, PHARE is the mechanism used to allocate state or federal funds for affordable housing.