Funding for the Whole Home Repairs program is among the items in the 2023-24 state budget that remain on hold, reports WHYY.
Gov. Josh Shapiro signed Pennsylvania’s budget on Aug. 3, but state law requires legislators to approve “fiscal code” bills for certain items. The $50 million for Whole Home Repairs is one of them, Budget Secretary Uri Monson said in an Aug. 2 memorandum to Shapiro and legislative leaders.
Republicans are smarting over Shapiro’s veto of an $100 million appropriation for private-school vouchers and see the unfinished code bills as a way to reassert their leverage in the budget process, Muhlenberg College political science professor Christopher Borick told WHYY.
Launched with $125 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds in Pennsylvania’s previous budget, Whole Home Repair provides grants and deferred-payment loans to homeowners for critical repairs, such as roof or window replacements, handicap-access ramps, plumbing, heating or electrical updates and so on.
Lancaster County’s share of the funding was just under $4 million. The program is administered here by the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority.
It has proved popular and according to the authority’s website there is currently a three- to six-month waiting list. That stems from limitations of contractor availability and staff capacity, said Michaela Allwine, the authority’s director of housing and community development.
Households making up to 80% of their area’s median income are eligible, which in Lancaster County is $76,400 for a family of four.
Besides Whole Home Repairs, categories of funding in the state budget that still require fiscal code bills include emergency medical services, “Level Up” supplemental funding for the state’s poorest school districts, teacher stipends, school mental health grants and support for public defenders, Secretary Monson’s letter says.
All in all, the money remaining in limbo totals about $338 million, of which more than $200 million is for education, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.