Tax credits approved for EOC

State tax credits have been approved to help the Warren-Forest Counties Economic Opportunities Council provide affordable housing.

On Monday, the Governor’s Office of Communications issued a press release announcing the award of $18 million in tax credits state-wide.

Of those, $75,000 will go to Warren County. Those credits are part of the Neighborhood Assistance Program’s (NAP) Special Program Priorities (SPP).

According to EOC Executive Director Bob Raible, the tax credits will reduce Northwest Bank’s state tax burden in exchange for a contribution of $100,000.

EOC is using those funds in a project at 116 Crescent Park.

According to the EOC application, the property was in need of extensive renovations.

“Neighborhood Assistance Funds will be utilized for the renovations and create two safe, affordable units,” Raible said. “When completed and occupied, the agency intends to house four individuals per year for up to six months, providing support services, job locator assistance, budget counseling, permanent housing locator assistance, and other services.”

Since the agency submitted the application, it has acquired the property. The total cost of purchase and renovation is projected at $232,149.

“The building… needs completely updated to today’s Uniform Code standards,” Raible said. “Renovations include: new kitchens, new bathrooms, electrical and plumbing upgrades, furnace upgrade, painting — interior and exterior, windows, roof, and weatherization for energy efficiency.”

“It will be for individuals with chronic mental health diagnoses who may also be waiting to be released from the Warren County jail,” he said.

Inmates about to reenter the community are a target of the project.

“At-risk populations have extreme difficulty in locating safe and affordable housing,”

Raible said. “This is particularly true of ex-offenders attempting to re-enter the community.”

“These individuals often face the prospect of no job, no hope, no support system, and no place to live, often becoming homeless or returning to jail,” he said. “In fact, many remain incarcerated longer than required, costing the local county government funds unnecessarily. This project seeks to create an alternative for this population by creating a viable option by renovating an older home into two apartments.”

“Fostering public-private collaboration and encouraging investment are some of the best ways we can revitalize low-income areas,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “When we lift up our distressed communities, we lift up the entire commonwealth.”

A total of 480 projects state-wide received tax-credit support. Of those, 26 are in the 12-county northwest region.

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