United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and PPL Foundation Partner to Provide $500,000 to Support Housing Stability

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and PPL Foundation have partnered to provide immediate solutions to the region’s growing rates of housing insecurity. With $500,000 provided by PPL Foundation, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley will launch a new no-to-low barrier rental assistance program for families and individuals at risk of eviction, as well as increase support for local shelters to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness.

“PPL Foundation’s contribution of $500,000 will provide support for thousands of people who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity right here in the communities we serve,” stated Ryan Hill, president of the PPL Foundation.

“By partnering with United Way, we know these funds will be invested in immediate solutions to address housing insecurity through prevention and intervention,” added Hill.

The housing crisis in our community has increased due to many factors, including the recent years’ health and economic crises. In the Lehigh Valley, over a third of households spend more than the recommended percentage of their income on housing costs, putting them at risk of eviction. With an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness and serious financial instability in the region, the PPL Foundation partnered to create Be a Housing Hero and make an additional contribution in honor of every new or increased gift to United Way during the 2022 annual campaign.

“Housing stability has a direct connection to both physical and mental health for children and adults. Through this significant contribution by the PPL Foundation, we will make a direct and lasting impact for families experiencing hardship today,” said David Lewis, president of United Way.

Rental Assistance
$300,000 in rental assistance will be available starting this month to families and individuals in the eviction process in two district courts in Allentown (31-1-01) and Bethlehem (03-02-10). They are two of the most high-need districts in the Greater Lehigh Valley, seeing the most evictions cases. They also directly cover United Way Community Schools, in many cases allowing children to remain in both their homes and schools.

“The last few years have proved that emergency rental funds are highly effective at keeping families housed. As government funds become more limited, support from partners such as PPL Foundation will fill a critical need for many that have fallen behind in rent,” remarked Erin Connelly, Vice President of Impact for United Way.

The program was developed in partnership with members of the Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board and North Penn Legal Services. Funds will be distributed by housing partners including Lehigh Conference of Churches and New Bethany.

Shelter Supports
$200,000 will fund 3,500 nights of emergency shelter at five Lehigh Valley shelters in the Allentown and Bethlehem areas throughout 2023 and 2024. For individuals and families who need immediate shelter, emergency shelters or funding to support hotel/motel stays ensure that they have a place to go. A total of 500 households experiencing homelessness will access one week of housing through this funding over the next two years.

Services will be provided by Sixth Street Shelter, Victory House, Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley, The Salvation Army of the Lehigh Valley and Valley Youth House. Shelters will provide wrap-around services and case management support to help youth, families, veterans, older adults and women experiencing domestic abuse get back on the path to stability.

Organizations began receiving funds on July 1, 2023.