2014-06-07 / Front Page

Gas drillers fuel housing assistance

Money paid by energy companies trying to cash in on the state’s shale gas rush is flowing into the region for housing needs through a pipeline to Harrisburg.

Details of the “homeless prevention” program operating in Cameron, Potter, McKean and Elk counties were spelled out during last week’s meeting of the Potter County Board of Commissioners. A portion of the impact fees shale gas drillers pay to the Pa. Public Utility Commission are targeted by law for housing needs. The Emporiumbased Northern Tier Community Action Corp qualified for a grant from the statewide fund to be spread over the four counties. Lisa Harris, case manager for the Potter County Homeless Prevention Program, told the commissioners that money is available to help low-income families and individuals with rent and housing-related crises. She said the program calls for expanded oversight to assist clients in securing employment and becoming self-suffificient, so clients are generally limited to six months of fifinancial assistance.

Harris, who operates out of an offifice at the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department Training Center, is working with Potter County Human Services and the Potter County Housing Authority, as well as private landlords. Emergency assistance is available to those facing challenges in paying security deposits and utility bills, as well as those facing imminent eviction due to non-payment.

Details on the Potter County program are available at 814-389-5065. Information on the program in Cameron, McKean or Elk counties is available from Northern Tier at 814-486- 1161.

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