Housing Rehabilitation Assistance
Allentown's 45,824 housing units offer a range of living options to our residents. Many of those homes are wonderful, well-maintained, and affordable to their owners. The majority of those homes were built well over 50 years ago and some have sunk into disrepair as owners struggled to keep up with regular maintenance or unplanned emergencies. We will identify and secure federal and state support for housing rehabilitation assistance for Allentown residents based on need, bringing the whole city to a higher standard of living.
Allentown's housing units are overwhelmingly rental units, with landlords ranging from the very good to the very bad. The city licenses landlords at a rate of $75 annually per unit, with the intent of regularly inspecting properties to ensure they are up to standards. Unfortunately, the demand for inspection has overwhelmed the city's ability to inspect properties, with reports of some properties not being inspected after more than 10 years of operation. In order to mitigate this challenge, we will move toward a performance-based inspection system. The system will require that landlords complete regular training and will reward good landlords with less frequent inspections and push bad landlords out of business.
The city will work with housing professionals to increase the supply of affordable housing, assisting with the procurement of federal tax credits and state support for housing development. Keeping housing affordable and in good condition is an incredibly difficult task. Working with the real estate community, we will build capacity among investors, developers and owners to make sure that they are not in over their heads. Professional owners can operate at the scale required to ensure that Allentown's residents can will not spend a disproportionate amount of their wages on rent alone.
Year-round Secular Shelter
We will collaborate with governments and nonprofits in the region to identify an opportunity for a year-round, secular, emergency shelter for our city's unsheltered population. This population has a diversity of needs, but everyone needs the opportunity to shelter in an emergency. With a changing climate, our region needs a year-round shelter as inclement weather can strike at any time.
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