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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, January 18, 2013

Are LC Comm'rs Taking Aim at Affordable Housing Trust?

Lehigh County collects and spends about $300,000 per year for its affordable housing trust fund. According to CACLV Exec Director Alan Jennings, Commissioners plan to kill it at their January 23 meeting.

Jennings has sent an email asking people to speak up for this program.

Friends –

Please do not put this aside without making sure you have placed this coming Wednesday, January 23, at 7:30 PM on your calendar.

That is the date and time of the next meeting of the Lehigh County Commissioners. The group who threatened to turn away federal funds that taxpayers had already paid and sent to Washington, that has turned away other grants, and is talking about abandoning the Green Future Fund that voters adopted by referendum by a margin of 2 to 1, is now proposing killing the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

This fund was adopted more than 20 years ago after the state gave counties the authority to raise fees to record deeds and mortgages from $13.50 each to $27 each. That’s right, someone buys a property for $300,000 and the county tacks on all of $27 for affordable housing efforts in the county. This fee is not a burden; nobody could credibly argue that it hurts a single transaction. But it generates approximately $300,000 per year to intervene in a hellacious economy that denies thousands and thousands of people access to the housing market. It was signed into law by a Republican county executive (Jane Baker) and embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike for all these years.

Tom Creighton is the commissioner who is leading the way. It is up to us to block that way. PLEASE do not take this lightly!

I look forward to a strong contingent to attend the January 23 meeting of the Commissioners.



Anonymous said...

Bernie, I get the whole conservative v. liberal politcal bloodbath at the Federal level.I get the whople TEA par4ty v. Progerressive religious wars at the federal level and on the national news? networks but I just don't think it washes as easily at the local level.

To me, local government is just not the same creature and strict ideology is not as useful or producitve for the people served at the lcoal level.

What say you?

michael molovinsky said...

the picture shows a young family in the mid 1940's, standing in front of their new home in Levittown, N.J. At that time affordable housing meant that a developer built houses within the market price of many people, not the government handing out money garnished from other people. certainly there were no advocates suggesting pressure be put on their elected officials to redistribute wealth, now a popular notion.

Anonymous said...

"Boy the way Glen Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days."

Oh the lyrics of this tune are so true, almost 45 years after the TV episode it was popularized on.

Anonymous said...

just another shell game. aj has lost all credibility

Anonymous said...

Is the program solving the problem, or is it making the problem worse?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"local government is just not the same creature and strict ideology is not as useful or producitve for the people served at the lcoal level."

I agree, and add that it is bad form to revisit a funding program after a budget has already been approved.

Credit Worthy said...

It would be shameful to eliminate something that is actually a benefit to society.

30 years ago my family found affordable housing (low income rental) when things were bleak. We were only there a year before being able to move up. If some type of assistance hadn't been available then, I doubt my current situation would be as it is now.

I recently bought another home in the Lehigh Valley. No help. No special programs, as I don't qualify with my income. I honestly never noticed a $27 fee among the stack of papers I signed, but have no problem with it.

Better I pay $27 that helps others find a home than pay for the resulting costs of families living in the streets or shelters.

Anonymous said...

The whole subject of afforable housing needs to be addresed. It's handled in pieces at various levels of government and in a very complex manner.

Also the coordination of government and nonprofit organizations (NGO) is lacking.

It's a problem, but the hapzard approach is too expensive and inneffective.

I actually think the county is the level to lead. Individual municipalities can't work together and NGOs are regionally focused.

Anonymous said...

Hey mike...the vast majority of those homes were built for war vets, to be purchased with the then newfangled VA mortgage-a form of federal housing assistance.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately when I hear Jennings speak anymore, what I really think is "what's in this for the rich white guys?"

And that sucks.

Anonymous said...

whether you agree that this is a good program, it certaily falls within the leagal authority of the local government, and our representatives there are authorized to treay it anyway that they percieve the constituency wishes.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of the far right LC gang, but Mr Jennings no longer has any credibility with me either.

Anonymous said...

MM, in the last several decades government has been quite effectively redistributing wealth. From the bottom and the middle to the top.
The data that would bear this out is quite easy to locate, and is irrefutable.

Anonymous said...

MM, in the last several decades government has been quite effectively redistributing wealth. From the bottom and the middle to the top.
The data that would bear this out is quite easy to locate, and is irrefutable.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:05, I have taken Alan to task for his ties to the rich white guys, but they help him financially in his programs for the disadvantaged. I still don't like it, but I understand. I am sure Alan would be willing to cut those ties if you were willing to provide his programs with the same funding that they do. And he does stand up to them, especially the banks.

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea. Sell the naming rights of the Government Center for $50M and put that money in a trust that funds vital programs year after year. It works for Universities.

Anonymous said...

The problem with government is that it redistributes wealth. Our founders never ever imagined all of the bullshit governmental programs of today. They would be shocked! What I find amazing is that people like Jennings want money for able bodied people to get free stuff. When, when will someone come forward and say no more free stuff of any kind whatsoever for able bodied people? If they can't find a job, put them to work on public projects until they can find work. This means men and women. Work is what they need. After a while earning their subsidies doing public labor, perhaps they will decide its time to move on and support themselves. We just give too much away to those that are undeserving. The elderly, TRULY disabled, mentally retarded, are entitled and should be helped. But the others... keep your hands out of my pocket.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think you are way off base. Most of these affordable housing programs have a long history of providing a limited amount of assistance to people who are making the biggest financial commitment of their lives, and who end up being highly responsible home owners instead of tenants ho don't give a shit. This is certainly the case in LC. Instead of looking for ways to screw minorities, and I suspect this is aimed at them, why not take aim at the richer assholes who have their hands in your pocket. People like J.B. Reilly? You're screwing the people who can least afford it over what amounts to less than 0.001 of LC'a annual budget. This is not wealth distribution any more than VA loans for vets after WWII.

So let's stop the nonsense.