Affordable Housing Grants Awarded

Affordable Housing Grants Awarded PHILADELPHIA, PA - Local nonprofit developers of affordable housing received almost $10 million in grants yesterday from the Federal Home Loan Banks of Pittsburgh and San Francisco, the largest awards to the region since the banks began funding low-income housing in 1990. The money is to go into 18 projects - 15 in Philadelphia and three in surrounding Pennsylvania counties - and produce 861 units of affordable housing.

At a City Hall news conference, Mayor Nutter, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), and bank officials handed out giant checks to community developers.

"We love that money coming from the West," joked Sister Mary Scullion, cofounder of Project HOME, a nonprofit provider of housing for homeless people.

Chartered by Congress, the home-loan banks provide low-cost credit to members, including commercial banks, savings institutions, credit unions, and thrift companies. By law, they must distribute 10 percent of their profits for affordable housing.

Lawrence H. Parks, a senior vice president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, said his organization looks for the most innovative projects to fund, regardless of location. Of the total grants awarded yesterday, the San Francisco bank donated about $2 million.

The grants typically help fill funding gaps for projects with multiple lenders, Parks said.

He added that the Philadelphia projects advanced concepts that could be applied to communities in California.

The grants include $900,000 for transitional housing for single men recently released from jail, sponsored by Gaudenzia Foundation, a substance-abuse treatment organization. Project HOME will get $1 million to develop 79 units of permanent housing with supportive services to homeless adults with special needs, such as serious mental illness or addictions.

Last year, Parks said, the San Francisco bank awarded $79 million for affordable-housing projects - a sum likely to be halved this year because of the economic slump.

The Pittsburgh home-loan bank, meanwhile, is funding a variety of projects for low-income senior housing, rental units for families, housing for military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and apartments for homeless individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

The projects outside the city are:

A rental senior-citizen development in Hatfield, Montgomery County ($350,000 to Advanced Living Inc.).

A firehouse renovation into senior-citizen apartments in Elverson, Chester County ($550,00 to Delaware Valley Development Co.).

Townhomes in Sellersville, Bucks County, for individuals with severe mental illness ($390,000 to Penn Foundation).

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