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Whole Homes Repair Program will help low-income homeowners, neighborhoods update old housing stock

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Action Housing will be applying to administer Whole Home Repair funds in Allegheny County
(0:00 - 6:26)

Starting this week, counties can apply for funds from the new Whole Home Repairs Program. The state allocated $125 million dollars in its current budget to help low- and moderate-income homeowners and small landlords make needed repairs and updates.

The nonprofit Action Housing has been designated by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to apply to administer $12.8 million of funds in the county.

“When you consider both the weather in Allegheny County and the age of the housing stock that you'd be looking at, possibly thousands of homes could use this kind of assistance,” says Dan Sullivan, housing stabilization program manager with Action Housing.

Action Housing will be applying with the state by the end of January. Sullivan says he expects homeowners and small landlords will be able to apply for funds by March 2023.

Without consistent zoning codes, many in rural parts of the state live in sub-quality housing
(6:36 - 13:19)

Researchers have found that people in rural Pennsylvania communities are more likely to live in sub-quality housing due in part to a lack of mandatory property maintenance policies in their towns.

“The number one challenge is the lack of the manpower and the resources,” says Ying Yang, a professor of sociology at Shippensburg University who co-wrote this report. “To reinforce these kinds of codes and to have those in place, you've got to have the staff.”

Yang says another challenge is money: the average income of a rural resident tends to be much less than that of someone who lives in a city, so rural residents may not have the funds to update their homes.

Yang says this is the first systematic look at the quality of housing in rural regions of the state.

Autonomous trucks are being developed, but companies need more fleet maintenance staff
(13:29 - 18:30)

Aurora Innovation says it’ll start to sell its autonomous trucking system in two years, but before those trucks hit the market, it also needs more staff to maintain the fleet.

90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring reports that finding these workers is a challenge in the robotics industry.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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