Allegheny County program covers home repair costs for families in need – WPXI

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — A new program in Allegheny County is taking care of home repair costs for families.

“I can relax in my house and not worry that it’s going to fall down on me,” Kelly Scatena said.

Scatena and her husband bought their house in Mount Oliver more than a decade ago and have been raising eight children.

“My house was in really bad shape, and it needed more things than I could afford to do, and they needed done sooner rather than later,” said Scatena. “I was in a pretty bad spot. We were just going to stay here until our house was condemned.”

But then, she found out about Whole-Home Repairs, which is a program that fixes severe problems with a home’s roof, windows and foundation. Her family met the criteria and was one of nearly 200 families who benefitted from the program this year. It’s been an investment of more than $10 million.

“We cannot lose sight of the importance of keeping people in their homes that they already have,” said Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato. “We have to recognize that just because people are housed today if they live in a home that requires repairs that they cannot afford and the home becomes unlivable those families may be unhoused tomorrow.”

Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato and other lawmakers gathered outside of Kelly’s home highlighting why more funding is needed for this program.

“In Allegheny County, 96%, 96% of eligible applicants have been deferred because of the lack of sufficient funding for the program,” said Innamorato. “While here in Allegheny County, we work to search for national and local funds, today we are calling on the Governor and the General Assembly to put new funding into this very successful and widely popular program.”

More than 4,000 eligible applicants were deferred in Allegheny County. And currently, Action Housing, the organization running the program, isn’t accepting any new applications.

“We need to make this a priority for Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Jay Costa. “The proceeds we’re using today came from the federal government. Now, we need to take a step here in Pennsylvania to make sure we put our state dollars. We establish this as a high priority with state resources to ensure a program like this continues because it’s extremely successful. It’s extremely favorable. It’s putting people to work. It’s keeping people in their communities. It’s stabilizing neighborhoods.”

It’s also creating jobs.

“We have 12 different contractors, under contract with Action Housing ready to do work,” said Action Housing Stabilization Program Manager Dan Sullivan. “They have added staff. They’ve added laborers. This is a job creation program as much as anything else, and it is absolutely needed.”

Their push now is to secure more state and federal money for this program so Action Housing can expand and meet the need.

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