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United Way, PPL Foundation Partnership to Provide $500,000 for Housing Stability, Shelters | WDIY Local News


Hundreds of thousands of dollars will go toward supporting housing stability efforts and shelters in the Lehigh Valley.

The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and the PPL Foundation have partnered to launch a new, no-to-low barrier rental assistance program for people at risk of evictions, and to increase support for local shelters providing housing for people experiencing homelessness.

According to a release from the United Way, the PPL Foundation will provide $500,000 for the effort.

Starting this month, $300,000 in rental assistance will be available families and individuals in the eviction process in two district courts, 31-1-01 in Allentown and 03-02-10 in Bethlehem.

The release said these two are the most high-need districts in the greater Lehigh Valley, see the most eviction cases, and also directly cover United Way Community Schools.

Funds will be distributed by partners including the Lehigh Conference of Churches, and New Bethany.

The program was developed in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board and North Penn Legal Services.

“The last few years have proved that emergency rental funds are highly effective at keeping families housed,” Erin Connelly, United Way’s Vice President of Impact said in a statement.

“As government funds become more limited, support from partners such as PPL Foundation will fill a critical need for many that have fallen behind in rent.”

The remaining $200,000 will fund 3,500 nights of emergency shelter at five regional homeless shelters during 2023 and 2024.

The organizations, which started receiving funds on July 1, are the Sixth Street Shelter, Victory House, Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley, the Salvation Army of the Lehigh Valley, and Valley Youth House.

These shelters will provide wraparound services and case management support to help stabilize the lives of youth, families, veterans, older adults, and women experiencing domestic abuse.

“Housing stability has a direct connection to both physical and mental health for children and adults,” United Way president David Lewis said in the release, and he said the PPL Foundation’s contribution will help make, “a direct and lasting impact for families experiencing hardship today.”

The United Way said that the housing crisis in the region has increased, and said this has been exacerbated by recent health and economic crises.

According to the release, over a third of Lehigh Valley households spend more than the recommended percentage of their income on housing which puts them at risk of eviction.

(Original air-date: 7/19/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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