Up to $10,000 is available right now to people who want to buy a home in Charleroi Borough … but they need to take advantage of it as soon as possible.
The money — available through the state’s housing trust fund — may be put towards a down payment or closing costs, says Jonathan Weaver, a housing counselor at the Mon Valley Initiative, or MVI, which along with the Greater Charleroi Community Development Corp. is helping homebuyers get access to the funding.
Fourteen people have already received similar assistance to purchase houses across the river in Monessen, Westmoreland County, but no one has yet requested the help in Charleroi, he says.
“We’ve had success in Monessen, and we’d like to see the same thing happen in Charleroi,” Weaver says. “There are a lot of good houses for sale right now in the borough.”
Money for the program comes from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Fund, or PHARE, created by the state legislature in 2010. In Charleroi Borough, it’s being administered by the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Washington.
Also known as the Pennsylvania State Housing Trust Fund, PHARE receives its money from fees paid by companies doing natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, along with a portion of the state Realty Transfer Tax, as well as revenue from the National Housing Trust Fund.
The funding in Charleroi is available to people who want to purchase a house for their primary residence—it may not be used for purchase of a rental property, Weaver says. And the assistance may not exceed 50 percent of the purchase price of the house.
There are income eligibility requirements, he says. Applicants may not have an annual income more than 80 percent of the so-called Area Median Income or “AMI.” In Washington County, the AMI ranges from $39,900 for a single person, living alone, to $56,950 for a family of four.
Weaver says the program is an excellent opportunity for a young family that needs a starter home, for a retired person who wants to move from a larger house to a smaller one, or for renters to become homeowners.
Applicants must complete free Homebuyer Education training offered through the Mon Valley Initiative, and they must pre-qualify for a mortgage—fortunately, Weaver says, MVI can provide assistance with applying for a mortgage—and the home they’re purchasing must pass an independent code inspection.
Applicants and others who want more information about the program should call Weaver at 412-464-4000, extension 4008, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHARE stands for Pennsylvania’s Housing Affordability Rehabilitation and Enhancement Act. Also known as the state housing trust fund, PHARE expands opportunity for people and communities in need by funding local housing programs.
PHARE is a flexible, sustainable revenue source to support the housing development, blight, homeownership and homelessness work that local communities need. For more information, visit http://www.homesnotblight.org/.