A vacant, blighted piece of land in Lancaster’s southeast quadrant has been turned into affordable housing filling a need in the community, according to the city’s mayor.
Conestoga North at 95 Chesapeake Street provides income-eligible first-time homebuyers with an opportunity to own a home.
Phase one of the project was completed in 2021 and the last of those nine units was sold in January 2022. Construction on phase two began in June. Each 1,500 square-foot unit includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full basement, and off-street parking.
To showcase the success of the project, state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs Rick Vilello toured Conestoga North Wednesday.
“Having affordable housing available for Pennsylvanians is crucial, and I’m thrilled to see what has been done so far at Conestoga North to help address this need here in the city of Lancaster,” Vilello said during the tour with elected officials and community leaders.
“Increasing the rate of homeownership in this Elm Street-designated Southeast Neighborhood is a great way to increase pride in the community and improve the quality of life for everyone who calls this area home,” he said.
“Housing costs are a top concern for Lancaster residents,” said Mayor Danene Sorace. “The City of Lancaster is making historic investments in affordable housing made possible by federal and state dollars like DCED’s support of the Conestoga North project. Thanks to the Wolf Administration, these dollars are creating much-needed housing units, and I’m thrilled local partners like SACA are putting the funds to work. Let’s ensure this momentum builds.”
DCED provided a total of $1 million in funding towards this project. Most of the funding, $750,000, was provided through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME). The project also received $250,000 through Keystone Communities Program and a $90,000 investment through Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits.
“DCED is an essential partner for every community seeking revitalization and transformative change,” said Carlos Graupera, CEO of SACA and SACA Development. “This is especially true for diverse and underserved communities. SACA is immensely grateful for the investments DCED has made in a commercial center and in the construction of affordable housing which has significantly advanced the resurgence of the southeast quadrant of our city,”
Since Gov. Tom Wolf first took office, more than $96 million in HOME funding has been provided to 163 projects in 42 counties. HOME program funds can be used in a variety of ways to address critical housing needs, including market-oriented approaches that offer opportunities such as homeownership or rental activities to revitalize communities with new investment.