Housing program to begin

BLOSSBURG – The Bradford-Tioga County Housing Authority will begin accepting applications for its brand new rental rehabilitation program Monday, March 18, according to Executive Director Kelley Cevette.

“The housing authority is excited to begin the first phase of this pilot program,” she said.

Cevette said she applied for monies in the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund made available through the Act 13 Natural Gas Impact Fee. The authority was awarded $275,000 in each county by the PHARE program, which will provide landlords in Bradford and Tioga counties a financial tool to maintain the safety and accessibility of their property while providing affordable rental housing to low-income tenants.

“We used to process all community development block grants for the county through the Department of Community and Economic Development and years ago they had a rental rehab program but we haven’t had any monies for that program in many years,” she said. “But this is a totally different program for the county.”

In exchange for funds to invest up to $18,000 in rehabilitation work to bring a unit up to housing quality standards, landlords must agree to rent their property for seven years to a county resident who meets the income limit category of 50 percent of the median income in Tioga or Bradford counties.

“The Rental Rehabilitation Program will allow landlords we partner with to improve our tenants’ quality of living by making repairs to their existing rental units, ” she said.

Construction projects bringing the units up to code or improving safety and energy efficiency and environmental improvements such as lead paint removal will be considered, Resident Service Coordinator Sean Sember said.

For a complete list of eligible projects visit the authority’s website at www.tbhra.org.

Last August the authority sent out survey letters to about 175 past and present landlords who have participated in the Rental Assistance Voucher Program explaining the program’s mission and inquiring as to whether they were interested in participating.

To participate, landlords must submit an application, which can be downloaded from the authority’s website, along with a non-refundable $50 application fee to the Office of the Housing Authority, 4 Riverside Plaza, Blossburg, PA 16912, beginning March 18.