HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - This afternoon in Philadelphia, lawmakers and housing advocates celebrated $375 million in new investments to address the affordable housing crisis in this year’s budget. 

Pennsylvania has some of the oldest homes in the entire country. According to Data for Progress, one out of every four Pennsylvania voters live in a home in need of a critical repair. 

A new program, formed with $125 million of the $375 million investment, aims to make the repair process simpler and more affordable. 

“This past spring, we saw a groundswell of grassroots advocacy from communities across the commonwealth to demand that the General Assembly take action on our housing crisis,” said State Senator Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia). “I’m proud to say that we heard these demands, securing historic funding to expand affordable housing and to keep Pennsylvanians warm, safe, and dry in their homes by passing the groundbreaking Whole-Home Repairs program,” Saval added. 

"This is a big deal for everybody,” said Governor Tom Wolf. 

Lawmakers say the bipartisan agreement to establish the program in this year’s budget is not only a big deal, but also a major win for Pennsylvanians who are unable to afford home improvements. 

“Requests for housing help are among the most frequent calls that my office, that our offices receive,” said Saval. 

Saval sponsored legislation that created the Whole Home Repairs Program. The program is funded with $125 million of remaining American Rescue Plan funds. Saval says the program is the first of its kind in the nation, and that it has the potential to stabilize communities, prevent blight, and more. 

“The Whole Home Repair Program establishes as a one stop shop for home repairs and weatherization, while building out our local workforce and adding new family sustaining jobs in a growing field,” said Saval. “Repairs support jobs,” he added. 

Homeowners and landlords can receive up to $50,000 for renovations as small as a leaky window, or as large as a roof collapse or issue with a home's foundation. The program also provides support staff and funds training programs to build the local workforce. 

Saval was joined this afternoon by Gov. Wolf, state lawmakers, and housing advocates to celebrate the new program. 

“We have the capacity, finally, in Pennsylvania to invest in things that are important. We have determined that this is among those really important things,” said Wolf. 

Lawmakers say it’s an important investment that comes at a critical time. 

“Right now, especially, people are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Wolf. “When families can't afford to stay in their homes, our entire Commonwealth is worse off,” he added. 

“As we all know, so many families struggle to pay their rent or mortgage. The cost is just too much,” said Armando Jiminez with the advocacy group Make the Road PA. 

Saval says the program is a hard-fought victory for anyone struggling to stay in their home, adding that it's a direct investment in the people of Pennsylvania and their communities.  

“The Whole Home Repairs Program meets the real needs of our constituents,” said Saval. “This is a direct investment in our people, in our homes, and in our communities,” Saval added. 

He believes it will provide an opportunity to permanently move the needle on the housing crisis. 

The budget also included $150 million to help offset higher development costs for affordable multifamily rental properties due to the pandemic. Additionally, $100 million will provide grants for the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing.