Westmoreland County announces homeownership incentive program

A new partnership between the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners and the Westmoreland County Land Bank was announced March 12 in Greensburg, Pa., to benefit moderate-income families hoping to become homeowners.

Over $300,000 was provided in combined resources from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund, as well as from Westmoreland County’s Affordable Housing Trust.

County commissioners described the program’s goals and benefits in the statement, emphasizing the importance of home-buying opportunities for young adults who may be planning to start a family and desire housing stability.

Commissioner Ted Kopas commended the partnership.

“This program shows how multiple agencies can work together in order to make our community a better place to live,” Kopas said.

The Westmoreland County Land Bank (WCLB) will assist by acquiring and rehabilitating vacant homes for sale to eligible households. Financial assistance will be available for down payments, closing costs and other expenses associated with home ownership. According to Commissioner Tyler Courtney, it creates extra incentives for potential property owners.

Twelve communities have actively expressed interest in the program, including Latrobe, Greensburg, Jeannette, West Newton, Youngwood, Sewickley, Scottdale, Mt. Pleasant Borough, Mt. Pleasant Township, Irwin, Derry Borough and South Greensburg.

Turning properties around will also result in more tax income for the state, an added benefit.

“We are trying to help out those young people get a leg-up in the world and start things out on the right foot while eliminating blight at the same time," Commissioner Charles Anderson said. "It just makes a lot of sense.”