Housing Finance Agency picks ‘inaugural fellow’ for research project

Michael Yoder//December 30, 2019

Housing Finance Agency picks ‘inaugural fellow’ for research project

Michael Yoder//December 30, 2019

Rachel Fawcett. (Photo: Submitted)

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) named a Penn State graduate student as its inaugural housing policy fellow.

Rachel Fawcett will receive a financial stipend of up to $12,000 during 2020 from the Harrisburg-based nonprofit to conduct research into the affordable housing industry. She has a degree in architecture from Penn State and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in professional studies, focusing on community and economic development.

“Rachel was chosen from a group of highly qualified applicants,” said Brian A. Hudson Sr., PHFA’s executive director and CEO. “She has an excellent background preparing her to undertake this research. It’s our hope that her studies as our fellow will provide important insights to help better inform our housing initiatives and will give her experience to advance her own leadership development – a true win-win.”

Fawcett’s fellowship project will focus on research into community land trusts across the country to determine their viability as a housing model to use in Pennsylvania. Community land trusts have been developed to help meet the demand for affordable housing.

The stipend provided through PHFA’s Policy Fellowship can be used for various activities supporting Fawcett’s research, including interviews with experts, securing resources and study materials and travel expenses to related conferences. At the end of the fellowship, Fawcett’s findings will be published by PHFA and made available to policymakers in the housing industry.

Fawcett currently serve as the budgets and publications coordinator at the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center at Penn State. Previously, she was the executive director of the Centre County Housing & Land Trust.

This is the first year of PHFA’s housing policy fellowship with the expectation that another fellow will be chosen in 2021 to conduct additional housing research.

The PHFA works to provide affordable home ownership and rental housing options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. The agency is governed by a 14-member board.