HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A 16-home affordable housing project in Harrisburg is finished — with the sale of three brand new homes along 16th and Swatara Streets.

These houses were built with funding from all levels of government and other lenders. Then on Wednesday night, the Harrisburg City Council approved a bill that put aside more than $500,000 for affordable housing, including the three homes on Swatara Street.

“We are gathered here today because it is a day of celebration,” said Gary Lenker, executive director of the Tri-County Housing Development Corporation (TCHDC). “This block at one time was nothing but abandoned and blighted homes.”

The 16 Mount Pleasant homes were built, or renovated, by TCHDC, with funding from the city, state, county, and local banks.

“These very families will be able to call these homes a home that I love and I enjoy and I’ll be safe and comfortable in,” Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams said.

With assistance from homebuyers, the three brand-new homes were sold for $119,000. On top of that, homeowners can qualify for the city’s tax abatement program if they make between 51 and 80 percent of the median family income. Under the program, they will pay no taxes on home improvements for 10 years.

“They only pay taxes on the land and they’re hovering right around $1,000 or just under $1,000 to buy one of these homes,” Lenker said.

Mayor Williams said this project is one more step towards her number one priority of making housing affordable for everyone. She said it is an urgent need.

“Where we had a rental at $800, $900, we now have a rental today, $1400, $1500,” she said. “Those are the things that we’re facing today and that’s why some of our constituents are homeless.”

She said these projects are also attracting more developers to the city.

“If they want to do townhomes or if they want to do apartment complexes, that’s fine, but at least a percentage of them have to be affordable,” Williams said. “They’re interested in coming to the city of Harrisburg and addressing that issue.”

The city has two more affordable housing projects in the works: 50 apartments and townhomes in the Allison Hill area and 67 homes in Uptown. The city is expecting to break ground on both of those in fall 2023.