The Whole-Home Repairs Act (Senate Bill 1135) is a bipartisan bill that creates a one-stop shop for home repairs and weatherization while building out our workforce and creating new family-sustaining jobs in a growing field. The Whole-Home Repairs Act is the first bill of its kind in the nation, making it so that Pennsylvanians can stay warm, safe, and dry in homes they can afford.
Community Co-Sponsorship Campaign
Pennsylvanians across our Commonwealth are coming out in support of home repairs and weatherization programs for themselves and their communities. With some of the oldest housing stock in the nation, we know the demand is massive and that the solutions must meet the magnitude of the need. Please add your name below to co-sponsor this important legislation and affirm the right of all Pennsylvania residents to housing that is safe, warm, and dry.
I Support Senator Saval’s Whole-Home Repairs Act
This is our moment to demand investment in our communities. Right now, state government is deciding on the annual budget. We have billions of dollars in American Rescue Plan funding from the federal government AND a budget surplus of more than $6 billion in state revenue. The money is there, and it’s time to build the political will.
We have people power on our side. If we win:
- Our children will no longer be exposed to health hazards like mold and lead
- Our seniors will have what they need to age in place
- Utility bills will be more affordable so everyone can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer
- We’ll be able to reduce our energy use and our homes’ impact on our climate
By keeping our neighbors housed, we can stabilize our communities, build generational wealth, and create the conditions for long-term health and wellbeing.
If you, or your organization or business would like to become involved with the campaign for Whole-Home Repairs, please let us know!
The following organizations support the Whole-Home Repairs Act (Senate Bill 1135) and call on the Pennsylvania General Assembly for Its Immediate Passage:
Berks Stands Up
Carbon County Action Committee for Human Services
Clean Air Council
Commission on Economic Opportunity
Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc.
Community Justice Project
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Ebony Suns Enterprises LLC
Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA)
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, Inc
Green Building United
Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County
Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
Hill District Consensus Group
Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia
Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity
Lancaster Stands Up
Lehigh Valley Stands Up
Make the Road PA
National Energy Improvement Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
Neighbors Against the Gas Plants
Northern Tier Community Action Corporation
Northumberland County Weatherization
Pennsylvania Stands Up
Pennsylvania Utility Law Project
Performance Systems Development
Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC)
Philadelphia Energy Authority
Philadelphia Rent Control Coalition
Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania
Rebuilding Together Philadelphia
Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh
Regional Housing Legal Services
Self-Determination Housing of Pennsylvania
Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter
Sunrise Movement Pennsylvania
Sunrise Movement Philly
The Public Interest Law Center
On any given day in Pennsylvania, tens of thousands of people across our Commonwealth experience houselessness or are on the brink of being displaced, and many more identify as being housing insecure. Pennsylvania’s housing crisis is decades in the making, a consequence of poverty and depressed wages, high utility burdens, systemic racism, a lack of affordable housing units, and a deepening climate crisis for which current housing stock is woefully unprepared.
Pennsylvania has some of the oldest housing stock in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of homes across the Commonwealth have moderate to severe physical inadequacies, including leaky roofs or windows, blown fuses or exposed wiring, unreliable heat, or the lack of a flushing toilet. As people struggle to simply hold on to their homes, they may be forced to forgo regular maintenance and small repairs and upgrades, deferring until a repair is more urgently needed, and far more expensive.
Deferred maintenance and system upgrades can result in homes with energy inefficiencies, which impose utility burdens on communities that can least afford them. Black and brown Pennsylvanians typically pay more in utilities than white Pennsylvanians, and in Philadelphia, low-income households spend an average of 23% of their household’s income on utilities alone. A household that cannot afford urgent repairs or upgrades may be forced into an untenable situation: living in a home that is fundamentally unsafe, abandoning it, or selling it to a speculator.
Our housing crisis is inextricable from our climate crisis. Precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased 70% in the Northeast since 1958, and nearly 360,000 Pennsylvanians live in the 100-year floodplain, including urban and rural regions alike. By mid-century, annual precipitation in Pennsylvania is expected to increase an additional 8%, with extreme rainfall events projected to increase in magnitude, frequency, and intensity. The state’s average annual temperature is expected to rise 6 °F in the same time period. This hotter and wetter weather will continue to accelerate the deterioration of Pennsylvania’s aging housing stock under conditions these homes were never designed to withstand.
The housing crisis is borne by the whole community. Communities in which residents are forced from their homes see higher rates of crime. Conversely, blocks where even just one household has been provided with the means to repair and update their home have seen a reduction in crime by nearly 22%. Creating the means for people to repair their homes and for neighborhoods to fight against blight are important in providing whole communities what they need so that their residents can thrive.
Pennsylvania residents are falling through the cracks of our current system, and our communities, and our affordable housing stock, are suffering because of it.
- The need for home repairs and weatherization far exceeds the available funding. Right now, the federally funded Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has a 10,000 person waiting list, and many eligible households have been deferred because their homes have underlying habitability issues, like a hole in the roof or mold from water damage, that need to be addressed first.
- There is also no way to address the structural problems of a home holistically. If a home has a leaky roof or mold, the homeowner or landlord must address that before any weatherization can happen. The lack of coordination among programs means that people who are eligible don’t get any assistance at all.
- Throughout the housing field, experts, practitioners, and organizations all report that even if home repair and weatherization were fully funded to meet the need, our Commonwealth simply doesn’t have the workforce needed to scale up. More than four out of every five builders nationally indicate cost and availability of labor as their main concerns. Our team has heard from individuals across the public and private sectors that one of the biggest barriers to successful home repair programs is a shortage of workers—a trend that bears out at the national level, too. Of the builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders, 88% indicated labor cost and availability as their primary concern in 2020, as compared to 13% in 2011.
The Whole-Home Repairs Act is the first bill of its kind in the nation! The Whole-Home Repairs Act builds on existing programs to create a one-stop shop for home repairs and weatherization so that people can stay safely housed in homes they can afford.
The Whole-Home Repairs Act works by creating a fund to fill the three main gaps: (1) funding for home repairs, (2) coordination and technical assistance, and (3) workforce development.
1. Repairs: The Whole-Home Repairs Fund provides $50,000 grants for homeowners and loans to small landlords with affordability restrictions so that they can make habitability repairs and upgrades for energy efficiency.
2. Coordination and technical assistance: The Whole-Home Repairs Fund allocates resources for support staff to help people access the right programs in the right order to meet their needs and maximize their access to holistic repairs.
3. Workforce development: The Whole-Home Repairs Fund provides resources to increase retention in home repair and weatherization training programs and pre-apprenticeship programs, including cash stipends to trainees, so that our state can build up the workforce needed to meet the demand.
The problem is massive, but the solution is within our grasp.
Passing the Whole-Home Repairs Act will mean that no Pennsylvanian will fall through the cracks. It will preserve our housing stock, reduce utility burdens, foster neighborhood safety, and prevent community displacement, all while creating a skilled workforce and new family-sustaining jobs in a rapidly growing field.
Week of Action
In March 2022, in counties across the Commonwealth, residents held a WEEK OF ACTION to raise the alarm on the state of our housing and demand the passage of the Whole-Home Repairs Act. Residents gathered to share their experiences and struggles with their homes, their love for their communities, and the support that they and their neighbors need.
We can fight housing scarcity, community displacement and instability, and the deterioration of our homes all at once by passing the Whole-Home Repairs Act to prevent Pennsylvania residents from falling through the cracks. Pennsylvania can be a leader. We can fix our homes, and we can build our local workforce and create new jobs while we do it.
Philadelphia | Monday, March 21
Partners: Philly Thrive, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, POWER Interfaith, Reclaim Philadelphia, Sunrise Movement, Philly DSA
Lancaster | Tuesday, March 22
Partners: Lancaster Stands Up, POWER Interfaith
Berks County | Wednesday, March 23
Partners: Berks Stands Up, Make the Road, Sunrise Movement, Berks DSA
Lehigh Valley | Thursday, March 24
Partners: Lehigh Valley Stands Up, Make the Road, POWER Interfaith, Lehigh Valley DSA, Sunrise Movement
Watch the Policy Hearing
Whole-Home Repairs: Preserving PA’s Homes, Stabilizing Communities, and Reducing Utility Bills
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