Affordable housing has become a growing concern in recent years, especially since the pandemic. If you’re looking to rent or buy a home these days in the State College area, let’s just say it’s not going to be cheap.
It’s why community leaders say the renovation of a group of townhomes to become affordable and eco-friendly housing is vital. On Sunday, community leaders cut the ribbon on these townhomes they converted.
Addressing a crowd from the steps of one of these units, State College Borough Mayor Ezra Nanes emphasized that “inclusionary and affordable housing is one of the most important priorities we have in the borough.”
The Home Foundation and the State College Community Land Trust were primarily behind these eight new, three-bedroom townhouses, located at the intersection of Old Boalsburg Road and East Irvin Avenue. All levels of government granted funds to help renovate them, including the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
As for how affordable these units are, the Home Foundation’s executive director, Morgan Wasikonis, said it depends on income.
“There’s some different income levels, To start off, we have to rent three of them to people with incomes below 50% of the area median income, and we have to rent four of them to people with incomes below 60% of the area median income. And then, we are allowed to rent up to one of them for 60 to 80%.”
Colleen Ritter, the Land Trust’s executive director, noted that the Land Trust “purchased the land that the property is sitting on. And then the Home Foundation purchased the buildings.”
“It’ll stay affordable in perpetuity as a result of the Land Trust owning the land.”
With cost of everything rising, more people in the area are in need. On top of that, the U.S. Census Bureau reports a population increase of over 4,000 in Centre County, between 2010 and 2020.
“We’re trying to make this as affordable as possible, And that includes reducing the energy cost burdens for the people who live here. So, that means that we want them not using lots of energy and having to pay a lot. So, in the future we’re looking to put solar panels on the roof.”