HONESDALE -- The Wayne County Commissioners adopted the Wayne County Affordable Housing Trust Fund Program Guidelines for distribution of the funds raised by adding a small fee to the recording costs for all mortgages and deeds.
County Human Services Deputy Director and Wayne Tomorrow! Housing Task Force Co-Chair Lori Rescigno has been working with Wayne County Chief Clerk Andrew M. Seder to develop an Act 137 Plan, which also calls for completion of an Updated Housing Assessment.
Rescigno laid out what Wayne County hopes to get from the study, including the number of housing units that need to be developed to meet current and future needs of the county to aid in stabilizing housing prices and ensuring appropriate housing for all. The goal of the study would be to identify housing needs at each level of the Average Median Income.
Ultimately from the study, housing officials would acquire a strategic plan that outlines how to best accomplish this goal including funding strategies and this plan would provide the data-driven information that is needed to access grant funding. The last Housing Assessment was completed in 2004, and the data and recommendations are out of date. It also does not take into account how the current pandemic has affected the housing market in Wayne County.
The Wayne County Commissioners, with the support of Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds Deborah Bates, adopted an ordinance in August of 2020 authorizing the Register & Recorders office to collect an additional $13 on each filing to support affordable housing. The new fee went into effect on Oct. 1, 2020. Since then, the fee has generated more than $120,000.
Based on the Program Guidelines, the majority of the generated funds can be used for projects and programs that create quality and affordable housing.
“Just having the match from the fund can open more avenues,” Rescigno said, noting efforts to improve owner-occupied properties are often thwarted by other issues such as mold or asbestos remediation.
Eligible uses include housing counseling and financial coaching programs, housing rehabilitation, emergency repair programs and much more. Applicants may include local municipal governments, housing and/or redevelopment authorities or other related agencies as well as community development corporations, community and/or faith-based organizations, non-profit human services providers, for profit entities and private employers.
To learn more about the guidelines, go to: https://www.waynecountypa.gov/923/Affordable-Housing-Trust-Fund-Program