Wolf Administration’s Investments in Affordable Housing for Pennsylvanians Highlighted During Ribbon Cutting in Bloomsburg

“Bill’s House” to provide housing options for homeless or low-income individuals and families in need in Columbia County

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs and Development Rick Vilello today joined local and community leaders in Bloomsburg to help cut the ribbon on “Bill’s House,” a new facility that will provide affordable rental housing for individuals and families who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or are low-income in Columbia County.

“This project is helping to solve a problem by creatively reusing a historic property,” said Deputy Secretary Vilello. “The Wolf Administration is proud to have helped fund the project and we look forward to seeing the good that Bill’s House will do in this community.”

Bill’s House, formerly known as the West Street Commons project, is located in a rehabilitated church at 375 West Street in Bloomsburg and was donated to Community Strategies Group (CSG). The newly renovated space contains nine apartment units for individuals or families falling below 50 percent of the median income. The housing units consist of one- to three-bedrooms and incorporate the church’s unique architectural features like stained-glass windows, moldings with energy efficient design features, accessible units, and broadband. Amenities include a community room with a full kitchen and central laundry for the residents.

“This was by far the largest HOME grant we’ve ever received,” said CSG Executive Director Rich Kisner. “It allowed us to preserve this century-old church and convert it into a fresh community asset that will provide our neighbors a pathway out of homelessness. Simply put, Bill’s House does not happen without the generosity of Bill Brobst and DCED’s continued commitment to sustainable affordable housing in Columbia County.”

Five of the nine apartments in Bill’s House are designated for partnership with The Gate House Shelter to assist local homeless individuals with their transition into permanent housing. Participation in this program will guide each tenant on a two-year path towards sustainable self-sufficiency, and will include case management, mental health counseling, financial literacy, financial empowerment, life skills, and job training.

DCED provided more than $2 million in funding towards this project: $1,826,679 through the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and $240,000 through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Under the Wolf Administration, nearly $9 million has been invested annually in projects through the HOME program, which is funded from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Funding provides municipalities with grant and loan assistance to expand and preserve the supply of decent and affordable housing for low- and very low-income Pennsylvanians.

The administration has also provided close to $40 million annually in CDBG funding across Pennsylvania. The CDBG grants are used for housing rehabilitation, public services, community facilities, infrastructure improvement, development, and planning.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Penny Ickes, DCED, dcedpress@pa.gov

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