U.S. Senator Bob Casey secures $1M to address blighted properties in Reading

PA Senators secured funding in Fiscal Year 2024 government funding bill. Funding will help transform numerous abandoned and underused properties into affordable housing.

In a significant stride towards addressing the persistent issue of blighted properties and affordable housing shortages in Reading, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, along with Mayor Eddie Moran, announced a federal funding allocation of $1 million. This allocation, secured as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 government funding bill, aims to acquire and revitalize abandoned or underused properties, returning them to productive use.

“We are here both to highlight efforts to reclaim vacant and abandon lots for new housing construction, but also to announce a new stream of funding secured by Senator Casey to significantly boost our efforts to remediate and rehabilitate blighted structures here in our city,” said Jamar Kelly, Director of Finance for the City of Reading, emphasizing the importance of the initiative.

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Kelly highlighted the critical role Senator Casey played in securing additional funding to boost the city’s efforts in remediating and rehabilitating blighted properties. He expressed gratitude for the infusion of funding, which will serve as a catalyst for creating a vibrant residential community by transforming 20 to 30 blighted properties into affordable housing.

“This appropriation was made possible by my advocacy and the advocacy of Senator Fetterman,” said Senator Casey. “The people of Reading deserve this. They work hard every day. They pay their taxes. They send their taxes to Washington and some of those dollars should come back to the people of Reading.”

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Mayor Eddie Moran hailed the funding as a pivotal moment in revitalizing Reading’s Buttonwood Street Gateway neighborhood. He emphasized the tangible results the funding will yield during his administration’s second term, outlining a vision to acquire and rehabilitate blighted properties to address the shortage of affordable housing.

“Today marks a special moment as we highlight the revitalization of our Buttonwood Street Gateway neighborhood, and we welcome a new infusion and resources that Senator Casey secured through community project funding in a federal budget,” stated Mayor Moran. “This funding will enable us to tackle persistent issues in our community. The shortage of affordable housing is plain and simple. It would also allow us to produce tangible measurable results during the second term of my administration, which is something I’m committed to.”

One resident, Christina Tart, expressed gratitude for the opportunity provided by Habitat for Humanity, citing it as a source of hope and relief for single mothers like herself. Tart emphasized the long-term impact of the support received, including budgeting classes and homeownership tools, which continue to benefit her future prospects.

“I just want to start by saying this has been an amazing journey. Thank you to habitat. I appreciate this. Not only did you give the City of Reading affordable homes you gave people like me, single mom, a sense of hope and relief, because now I feel like I’m secure” said Tart. “The tools that you gave me, the classes, the budgeting and everything, that wasn’t just temporary, that is something I’m still actually using for the future.”

With a total project cost estimated at $3 million, the federal funding allocation serves as a vital catalyst for Reading’s housing revitalization efforts. The coordinated approach between government entities, private investment, and community partners underscores a commitment to building a brighter future and fostering homeownership opportunities for all residents in Reading.

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Jason Hugg
Jason Hugghttps://huggmedia.com
Editor and photographer at Berks Weekly.
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