HARRISBURG – The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee today heard testimony on the lack of affordable housing stock in Lycoming County, according to Committee Chairman, State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming).
The Committee heard from county housing officials and other participants on the need for more safe, affordable housing options in the County.
“As companies locate here, the growth is creating a huge demand for housing that we need to address, particularly in the area of rental housing,” said Yaw. “This issue has been further compounded by the recent flooding that has forced existing renters and homeowners out of their homes.”
According to Lycoming County United Way Executive Director Scott Lowery, “the growing negative housing impact being felt in Lycoming County can be gleaned from the results of our past two Community Needs Assessment surveys. The 2005 survey ranked concerns regarding homelessness 22nd among 36 identified needs. In 2009, homelessness ranked 9th, the single biggest jump of all areas calculated.”
“Although the average rent in Lycoming County changed very little, there were significant changes in the number of rental units at different price ranges,” said Barry Denk, Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan – bicameral legislative research agency based in Harrisburg. “In 2005, 40 percent of the rental units had a monthly gross rent of less than $500. By 2010, less than 22 percent of the rental units were available at this range,” Denk added.
Early next year, the Center will begin a longitudinal research study to document the economic and community impacts, including housing, of the Marcellus Shale development in Lycoming, Bradford, Greene and Washington counties.
The Committee also heard testimony from Colby Fuser, Operations Manager for Halliburton, a Muncy-based company. “Halliburton promotes a work-life balance for its people, and we know that a happy home is always beneficial to our employees. That’s why we take great concern in making sure that the process our employees go through when they are purchasing a home is a good one. Making sure employees can find a quality home that is reasonably priced, rather than overinflated due to the growth of the industry, is important to the long-term sustainability of Halliburton and the community at large in Lycoming County.”
Today’s hearing is one in a series on housing held throughout the Northern Tier by the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.
For more information, visit www.senatorgeneyaw.com for a copy of today’s agenda and testimony. Hearing video will also be made available.
Contact: Nick Troutman