In case you missed it:This week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

     James Carraghan, a graduate student at Kutztown University, said he felt anxiety renting an apartment in Kutztown. Like most municipalities in Pennsylvania, Kutztown does not have an anti-discrimination law for people who identify as LGBT. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    James Carraghan, a graduate student at Kutztown University, said he felt anxiety renting an apartment in Kutztown. Like most municipalities in Pennsylvania, Kutztown does not have an anti-discrimination law for people who identify as LGBT. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    The Keystone Crossroads housing series has a few additions and keeps expanding.

    The Keystone Crossroads housing series has a few additions and keeps expanding.

    Fair housing

    “If I were to live in Kutztown, I would be concerned that a landlord would look at me and say ‘I don’t want to deal with you anymore, you’re trans, I don’t want that in my house — get out.” Kutztown is one of many Pennsylvania municipalities where it is legal to deny housing based on gender identity or sexual orientation. A group of students, with guidance from Equality Pennsylvania, hope to change that.

    The Housing Choice voucher program, also known as Section 8, serves 5,200 families in Pittsburgh. A new ordinance passed by city council prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to tenants who participate in this program. Councilman Ricky Burgess, sponsor of the ordinance, says that turning away tenants based on their income is “really just another vehicle for discrimination.”

    Currently eligible families return 41 percent of housing vouchers unused, because landlords reject them. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)The Germantown section of Philadelphia is home to a new low-rise development of 55 units of public housing, replacing a high-rise building that was a source of blight in the neighborhood. Chester County will restore a shuttered inn, giving it new life as a residence for homeless vets. (Newsworks)And then there is PHARE housing. Lycoming County was able to invest $2.6 million in affordable housing because the proceeds from fracking impact fees went into the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, known as the PHARE fund.

    Healthy rowhouses makes for healthy low-income neighborhoods. That’s the idea behind the Healthy Rowhouse Project. The goal: repair 5,000 rowhouses with almost $1 million raised. (PlanPhilly)

    It was a declaration made Thursday in Philadelphia by HUD Secretary Julian Castro – 1,390 homeless veterans are now in permanent housing.  Only 15 homeless vets declined the offer of housing. (Newsworks)

    Jargon explained – Gentrification

    Part of our housing series, Locked Out: Pennsylvania has a housing problem involves explainers, a way to demystify some of the wonkish terms unique to housing and planning. This week, we are highlighting gentrification. Simply put, gentrification is the cultural impact of new residents with higher incomes moving into an area populated by lower income residents. Get your housing geek on and read more details.An analysis of gentrified neighborhoods by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that if the most vulnerable residents can weather the economic changes, they will also reap the benefits, including improved schools and new local businesses. (Newsworks)

    Gridlock

    An audit of the DCED’s Center for Community Financing found that the agency’s slow contract process and budget cutbacks kept six counties from providing necessary services for area families, including help with utility bills, security deposits and rent. A recent restructuring of the program will hopefully avoid future mistakes.Pennsylvania schools have borrowed approximately $900 million since the budget stalemate began. Standard & Poor’s has withdrawn its ratings on a state program that assists school districts in borrowing money because “Pennsylvania can’t ensure the timely payment of debt.” (AP)The budget gridlock continues as lawmakers grapple over pension payments and reform. Six months and counting. 

    Colwyn is a tiny borough with a large fiscal crisis. The primary cause, mismanagement.

    Transit

    As more and more of their residents commute to New York City, the Lehigh Valley and Scranton have high speed trains on their wish list.

    Code for America fellows are working on software to bring high speed to transit planning. (NextCity)

    Whether you are traveling by train, plane or automobile, we hope you have a great weekend.

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