Housing for low- and moderate-income families to be built in Washington, Greene counties

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More than $17 million in tax credits have been approved by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which will result in two plans of affordable housing to be built in Washington and Greene counties.

North Strabane will use federal tax credits to generate $9 million in investments to develop Burkett Place, a plan of three three-story buildings to house low- to moderate-income families.

State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Washington, said Burkett Place will straddle North Strabane and South Strabane. It will be built on a four-acre plot and its three buildings will contain of 24 two-bedroom units and 24 three-bedroom units. Six of the units will be handicapped-accessible.

Holly Glauser, director of development for the Pennsylvania Housing FInance Agency, said that in the tax credit program, at least 50 percent of the units have to be designated for low-income individuals or families.

“There has been a lot of growth in Washington County,” Ms. Glauser said. “Although we have seen significant development, we also saw that there weren’t a substantial number of affordable housing units in that area. We want to assure long-term affordability to people.”

“We wanted to help create low- or moderate-income housing and sustainable housing for working people who otherwise cannot afford to buy at this time,” Mr. Solobay said last week. He said the housing is not part of Housing and Urban Development.

In Waynesburg, Greene County, the Gateway Senior Housing Project will be a four-story building on a 1.69-acre site consisting of four parcels. The building will include 52 units for people age 62 and older on fixed incomes.

“There will be 31 one-bedroom and 21 two-bedroom units, six of these are handicapped-accessible,” Ms. Glause said. “We want this to be another option that our senior citizens have, so they aren't forced into nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.”

The Gateway Project will receive tax credits that will leverage $8.07 million in investments.

“Both the Burkett Place project and the Gateway Senior Housing project help create affordable housing alternatives for seniors and families who have low or moderate incomes,” Mr. Solobay said. “There is a critical need for this type of housing, and the approval of the tax credits helps leverage investments that are critical to the development of these housing developments.”

“The Gateway housing unit is for senior citizens only,” state Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington, said. “Burkett will be for families. It is important for programs like this to provide Washington County’s residents with affordable housing options. This is a great opportunity for our community.”

Mr. Solobay said that North Strabane received all of the necessary zoning approval and contractors are in place.

“This isn't just a dream,” he said. “It is a reality, and it is coming fairly soon. Construction is set to begin this fall.”

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency provides affordable housing for both homeowners and renters, specifically those with low to moderate incomes such as seniors and individuals with special housing needs.

Chasity Capasso, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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