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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.


Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk: Housing -- low-income, elderly, disabled, blighted properties

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 4, 2014 4:18 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, March 6, 2014:

house on cash 300 x 170.jpg

The cold, snowy and seemingly never-ending winter is a good reminder of one of the basic human needs -- shelter. 

Housing is easy to take for granted unless it is difficult to find.  For many low-income, older, or disabled Pennsylvanians, finding a place to live can be a challenge.  Since the Great Recession began six years ago and even with a tepid economic recovery, there are thousands of people and families that can't find a house or apartment they can afford.

Liz Hersh, the Executive Director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania appears on Wednesday's Smart Talk to describe the situation and what actions are being taken and the programs that exist to help.

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Liz Hersh, Executive Director, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

One that is being explored is expanding the state's Housing Trust Fund, which was set up several years ago to attack blighted properties, keep older people in their homes, and help those with low incomes from becoming homeless.  Many say the trust fund hasn't had much of an impact because there isn't enough money in it.

Targeting blighted properties and negligent property owners have become a priority of the Alliance.

Late last year, the Pennsylvania House formed a homelessness caucus.  Has it helped?

We'll examine all those issues on Wednesday's program.

Listen to the program:

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Comments: 7

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-03-05 09:19

    Thomas from Lancaster emails:

    i have become a real estate investor over the last two years, could you address sec. 8 to the public.

    i lease all of my homes under sec.8 i will not buy a home that i personally would not live in.

    i invest in lancaster city, pa

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-03-05 09:21

    Thomas from Lancaster emails:

    i have become a real estate investor over the last two years, could you address sec. 8 to the public.

    i lease all of my homes under sec.8 i will not buy a home that i personally would not live in.

    i invest in lancaster city, pa

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-03-05 09:26

    A guest emails:

    Correct me if I'm wrong,but when the housing market collapsed.
    And there was a lot of foreclosed FHA homes.
    I heard that instead of putting the foreclosed FHA homes on the market for first time buyers.
    The govt bundled them and sold them to investors so as to clear up the glut.


  • Elizabeth Sterner img 2014-03-05 09:49

    There have been discussions around reforming the property tax code. As a landlord I pass through the cost of property taxes in the rent I charge, a customary practice. I often hear people say that renters don't pay property taxes but they do as their rent covers the property taxes of the property they live in. Any property tax reform needs to factor this in. Increasing sales tax that is not offset by reductions in property taxes on residential rental units will result in higher taxes on those least able to afford the increase.

  • John Nomads img 2014-03-05 19:34

    I've been living in mobile dwellingways over the last 30 years, I'm not interested in spending my money (and lowering my standard of living) on a fixed dwelling.

  • J.D. in Mt. Gretna img 2014-03-05 21:32

    Here's the story on the empty Palmyra grocery store Scott referenced during the show: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/02/old_grocery_store_to_become_ch.html

  • J.D. in Mt. Gretna img 2014-03-05 21:34

    Here's the story on the empty Palmyra grocery store Scott referenced during the show: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/02/old_grocery_store_to_become_ch.html

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