Plan for affordable senior housing in Harrisburg hits funding roadblock caused by pandemic

Local

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A plan for affordable senior housing in Harrisburg is hitting a funding roadblock.

RB Development has partnered with the Harrisburg Housing Authority and Gardner Capital to build Bethel Village in the empty lot at 6th and Herr streets.

The plan is for the village to be a 49-unit building for seniors 62 and older who make around $46,000 a year or less. The senior’s rents would be adjusted to their specific income.

Blane Stoddart with RB Development says 71% of people in the city of Harrisburg qualify for afforable housing, so the need is great.

“Over the next 10 years, the biggest crisis America will see is the crisis of affordable housing,” Stoddart said. “We’re proud to be building sustainable housing, brand new housing and housing that anyone, whether they’re low income or high income would be proud to live in.”

In April of 2020 they were given almost $13 million for the project from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and some funding from other sources too. Then the pandemic hit.

“We had all our financing in place. The big difference is costs went up by $1.2 million, because of the cost of construction materials,” Stoddart said.

Now they’re stuck until they raise that money.

“We still need to raise this extra million dollars from the city and from Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency within the next couple of months so we can put a shovel in the ground by October of 2021,” Stoddart said.

They’re confident that they’ll be able to get the funding and make it happen.

“We’re hoping and we’re praying,” Stoddart said. “I’m fairly confident this project is going to get done for the city of Harrisburg.”

He says the project will benefit more than just the seniors who live there, because in places where affordable housing is build the market value of the surrounding properties go up and the whole neighborhood improves.

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