Rep. Lee, Allegheny County Executive Innamorato, PA Senate Dems Highlight Success of Whole-Home Repair Program, Call for Its Expansion

**For IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov – 330.212.2065

Rep. Lee, Allegheny County Executive Innamorato, PA Senate Dems Highlight Success of Whole-Home Repair Program, Call for Its Expansion

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) was joined by Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato and State Senators Nikil Saval (SD-01), Lindsey Williams (SD-38), Jim Brewster (SD-45) Committee Chair Katie Muth (SD-44), State Rep. Jessica Benham (HD-36), Executive Director of Action Housing Dan Sullivan, and local homeowners to highlight the success of Pennsylvania’s Whole Home Repair in rehabilitating homes for 199 families and the dire need for massive federal investment to serve the remaining 96% of households in Allegheny county who applied for assistance through the program and were deemed eligible. . The press conference was held in front of the home of Kelly and Mo Scatena, who through the Whole Home Repair program were able to fix a leak on their roof, steps in their yard, and critical pillars in their foundation–making her “actually feel like a homeowner.”

Watch Full Livestream

Rep. Lee’s Full Remarks:

Thank you for joining us today, and it is an honor to be joined by Senator Nikil Saval, County Executive Sara Innamorato, Senator Katie Muth, Senator Lindsey Williams, Senator Wayne Fontana, and Senator Jim Brewster. I’d also like to thank Kelly and Mo Scatena for welcoming us to your beautiful home to talk about the critical need for Whole Home Repair.

The work that Action Housing and their partners have been able to accomplish is something our entire region should be proud of. Thanks to their hard work, Kelly and Mo, and 199 other families have received urgent repairs that will help them avoid losing their homes. From senior citizens in Homewood who hope to age in place, to young families with children in the Mon Valley, to someone managing a disability that needs renovations so they can access their home – all of these families deserve to have safe, stable, livable housing. 

56% of U.S. adults lack the emergency funds to handle a $1,000 unexpected expense, let alone pay to repair or replace a leaking roof – which is the most common issue in this region. And growing up in North Braddock, I know personally what can happen when families can’t come up with that money. Instead of staying in the neighborhood and building generational wealth with a home, they are forced out. This often leads to a change in school district, a loss of community support system, and definitely will lead to people struggling to find affordable housing in a region that does not have enough of it. And more often than not, that house goes from a beautiful home to unlivable blight. 

Just in my small neighborhood of North Braddock, we have over 400 blighted properties. Each time I walk by, I think of the people who – for lack of a few thousand dollars – lost their community. I think of the thousands in this region who are desperately in search of affordable housing. I think of how much generational wealth families have lost, especially Black families, and how that has impacted them in so many other ways. Whole Home Repair could have helped them. 

The story is not just about the 200 families Action Housing could help, but also the 6,000 eligible applicants they could not help. It’s about the 15.6 million housing units across the United States that are in need of home repair and are occupied by low-income families. In Allegheny County, we were $230 million short in just this round. In the United States, we are $50.8 billion short of being able to afford these repairs. Action Housing is ready to do the work and ready to teach others across the commonwealth and the country to do the same, now we have to do our job at the state, local and federal level. I wanted to close by making a commitment to fighting at the federal level for Whole Home Repair until we have the funding we need to address this urgent crisis before its too late. Our neighbors deserve to keep their homes and I thank everyone who is here today to fight for them. 

Thank you so much for allowing me to speak, I’ll pass the mic to Kelly Scatena.

“Investing in our existing housing supply is a critical tool in the fight against an increasingly unaffordable regional housing market. There has been a lot of attention paid recently to the unhoused population here in Allegheny County, and rightfully so. We are working to increase shelter capacity, and to build more bridges and transitional housing. but we cannot lose sight of the importance of keeping people in their homes that they already have. And we have to recognize that just because people are housed today, if they live in a home that requires repairs that they cannot afford, the home becomes unlivable. Those families may be unhoused tomorrow”  said Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato.

“Every person has a right to a home that is safe and a home that is healthy, but hundreds of thousands across Pennsylvania are denied this right? Simply because they lack access to the resources they need and deserve to fix their homes. We passed the whole home repairs program to change this. This program creates a one stop shop in each county in our Commonwealth for home repairs and weatherization while building out our local workforce and adding new family sustaining jobs. When we passed all home repairs, it was the first of its kind in the nation. Now states like Maine, Rhode Island and Maryland have adopted versions of this program. It’s been less than a year since Whole Home Repairs funds began to flow to counties across Pennsylvania and already hundreds of homes have been fixed. and 1000s of lives have been changed” said State Senator Nikhil Saval (SD-01).

“I didn’t feel like I actually have the security of being a homeowner because it was a ticking clock. We couldn’t pay out of pocket to stabilize our home. And you can’t get a loan on a crumbling house. I knew we couldn’t afford to buy another house and I can’t afford to go pay rent somewhere. So we were just gonna stay here till our house was condemned because we really didn’t have another option and the stress of that was terrible.” said Kelly Scatena, a homeowner who had been helped by the Whole Home Repairs Program. “Home should be a place where you feel safe and now I have that I can relax in my house and not worry that it’s gonna fall down on me. Now that I’ve gotten these repairs, I feel like I have a solid foot on the ground. I feel like I’m actually a homeowner because I’m here for good.”

Background 

  • The Whole Home Repair program in Pennsylvania gave Allegheny County $13 million through initial funds that has helped 200 homes with grants of up to $50,000 to fix roof leaks, broken furnaces, faulty wiring. 
  • Whole Home Repair is critical to Pennsylvania, which has some of the oldest housing stock in the country–as almost 60% of homes were built before 1970.
    • So far, 4,000 households have applied in Allegheny County  and 96% of them have been found eligible for repairs, but only 4% of those homes have been served. Roof leaks are the most common issue in Allegheny County.
    • A federal investment of $240 million for Allegheny County would both cut the application backlog and ensure households that haven’t applied will be able to get their homes repaired.

Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $1 Billion brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,600 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

###

Recent Posts


Apr 11, 2024
Press

Amidst Record Rainfall Lee, Deluzio, Casey, Fetterman Secure $6.6 Million for Pittsburgh’s Parkway East Floodwall

For Immediate Release  April 11, 2024  Contact  Natalie Adams (Casey): 202-228-3789 Charlie Hills (Fetterman): 202-228-6099  Emilia Rowland (Lee): 330-212-2065   Zoe Bluffstone (Deluzio): 771-444-0316  Amidst Record Rainfall Lee, Deluzio, Casey, Fetterman Secure $6.6 Million for Pittsburgh’s Parkway East Floodwall Additional funding follows recent flooding that closed the critical route The Members secured $142.34 million for the […]



Apr 9, 2024
Press

Reps. Lee, García and Senator Markey Urge Biden Admin. to Update Decade-Old Air Pollution Standards For Diesel Locomotives, Use Union Labor in Green Rail Development

**For IMMEDIATE RELEASE** Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov Reps. Lee, García and Senator Markey Urge Biden Admin. to Update Decade-Old Air Pollution Standards For Diesel Locomotives, Use Union Labor in Green Rail Development PITTSBURGH, PA — Today, Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12), Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-4), and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) led a letter with 35 colleagues to […]



Mar 28, 2024
Press

Summer Lee Visits Abandoned Well in Murrysville with PA DEP, Highlighting Infrastructure Law Funding and her Bipartisan Abandoned Wells Legislation 

For Immediate Release  Emilia Rowland, Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov Summer Lee Visits Abandoned Well in Murrysville with PA DEP, Highlighting Infrastructure Law Funding and her Bipartisan Abandoned Wells Legislation  Lee’s bill was passed through the Science, Space, and Technology Committee on a unanimous, bipartisan basis and awaits a vote by the full House  Pittsburgh, PA — Today, Congresswoman  […]