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Lycoming County plots spending initiatives for gas impact fee funds

This graphic, from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, shows how counties statewide generally spent their natural gas impact fee funds in 2019.

Lycoming County’s $2.2 million in natural gas impact fee will go toward matching grants and leveraging economic opportunities at Timber Run Industrial Park and other programs assisting those with rent, utility payments and housing needs.

“We plan to use the funds in Act 13 to match larger grants and leverage funding for the industrial park in Brady Township,” said Shannon Rossman, executive director of the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Additionally, $948,000 in state Housing Affordable Rehabilitation Enhancement Funds will be used in rental/utility assistance; down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers, blight remediation initiatives, and rental housing programs, said Jenny Picciano, community development/lead planner with the county department.

Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity, 335 Rose St., will get $60,000 for its building stability, a supplemental cost for new home construction for income-eligible families, said Duane Hershberger, executive director of the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity, 335 Rose St.

“These are new homes that are built with the help of donated funds and volunteer labor. We sell the houses to homeowners at no profit with a no interest mortgage,” he said.

Hershberger noted that the next round of PHARE money will fund part of a build in the Scott Street neighborhood.

“Our community has been a wonderful support and as we’ve begun to welcome back volunteers as we emerge from the pandemic,” Hershberger said.

Transitional Living Centers, 900 W. Third St., receives $200,000, for its lease program assistance enabling incarcerated women to make a positive and productive transition into society.

The program helps to secure downpayments, pays up to a year rent, provides assistance toward furnishings and utility costs and does it with minimal case management, said Nicole Miller, TLC executive director.

American Rescue Workers, 643 Elmira St., will get $100,000 for rental assistance for temporarily homeless men, and YWCA Northcentral branch gets $70,000, for Liberty House, living available to women and women with children who have been displaced due to alcohol or drug addiction, and who are offered an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness and achieve self-sufficiency.

“Housing stabilization focuses on getting the individual who might be back on his or her rent or mortgage on their feet,” said Rachelle Abbott, chief operations and planning officer at STEP Inc., 2138 Lincoln St., which receiving $265,000, for a supportive housing program; $225,000 for its regional Homes-in-Need program and $25,000 for its Urgent Need Home Repair programs;

The programs are designed to move someone to self-sufficiency. In Supportive Housing, payments that are provided are based on goals achieved.

“As they achieve their goals the amounts whittled down until there is self-sufficiency by the end,” Abbott said.

The Homes in Need program focuses on housing rehabilitation. There are 738 individuals on the list, she said.

Often, it is for senior citizens unable to pay for costly home repairs and impacting their health and safety with code compliance violations.

There are emergency or urgent need home repair funds for situations when it becomes imminently necessary to protect the health safety and welfare of occupants when residences are uninhabitable.

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