Community Development

Community Development entails a wide range of activities, in Venango County− from street paving, sidewalk reconstruction, and ADA-compliant building improvements to home rehabilitation grants for the county's low- and moderate-income homeowners, public infrastructure improvements, and blight removal.

These initiatives are primarily funded through State and Federal grants, such as the state-funded Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund, and federal HUD-funded programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).

Community Development initiatives are administered out of the Venango County Regional Planning Commission office, on the first floor of the Venango County Courthouse, at 1168 Liberty Street, Franklin PA 16323.

To review required Environmental Review postings for these and upcoming projects, visit the environmental review posting page

  1. Joshua Sterling

    Community Development Planner

The Venango County Housing Rehabilitation Program

The Venango County Regional Planning Commission administers the Housing Rehabilitation Program. The Program funding is grant-based (as opposed to loans, which need paid back), and is therefore 100% free of cost to eligible applicant homeowners. See below Repair/Replacement Standards for what types of work this program covers.

One primary goal of this program is to ensure a safer, healthier, and housing stock for the County's current and future homeowners, and to avoid any deferred maintenance that can often put a home on the path to becoming a neighborhood blight. This program is a response to a Housing Market Analysis (czbLLC, 2009) which called for initiatives to stabilize the County's market, in part, by rehabilitating at-risk homes.

Eligibility is based on total household income (all household members, age 18 and up). Income-eligibility standards are based on the current year's HUD Income Limits. Eligible applicants must own and live in the home for which they are applying for rehabilitation assistance.

Some documents that will be required during the application phase include: 

  • Deed to home, 
  • Most recent six (6) months bank statements, 
  • Most recent three (3) months pay stubs (or other third-party payment statement, such as Social Security Benefits Statement), 
  • Receipts showing local municipal/school taxes are paid to current, 
  • Photo ID & Social Security cards (scanned copies to be held on file), 
  • Homeowners insurance declaration page, and 
  • Asset statements (when necessary)

To apply, click on the application document, below, relevant to where in Venango County you live. Intake applications can be emailed to; or printed and mailed to the Venango County Regional Planning Commission, at 1168 Liberty St., PO Box 831, Franklin, Pa., 16323.

Rental Housing Rehabilitation - Pilot Program

The Rental Housing Rehabilitation component of the Venango County Housing Rehabilitation Program is open to any Small Landlord owning residential rental units within Venango County. Funding is provided by the PA Whole-Home Repairs (WHR) Program. This funding originates with the Federal American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA), which is passed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Department (DCED) to County governments across the state. The purpose of the program is to address housing insecurity and the climate crisis by providing funding for homeowners and landlords to make repairs to their rental units, and support upkeep and weatherization. Owners of rental units seeking housing rehabilitation funding assistance for their rental properties may receive up to $50,000 per unit for the necessary work. Regulations governing the PA Whole-Home Repairs (WHR) Program require that rehabilitation funding support for rental units be in the form of a forgivable loan. Loans will be secured by a mortgage recorded against the rental property.

The Venango County Housing Rehabilitation Program goal aims to address habitability concerns with improvements and modifications to the home to bring it into compliance with current health and safety standards. The Program is now offering a Rental Housing Rehabilitation component to improve the living conditions of low-income renters and the general housing market of rental units available to low-income residents. The same Repair/Replacement standards for the homeowner-occupied home rehab apply (Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Repair/Replace Standards) and local code. In addition to health and safety repairs, the Program will address handicapped-accessibility issues for residents whom can provide proof of Disability. The accessibility items include bathroom modifications, installation of grab bars and handrails, kitchen modifications, lifting devices, main level bathroom or bedroom addition, ramp addition or repair, sidewalk addition or repair, widening doorways or hallways, as outlined by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s Access Home Modification Program.  

The Rental Housing Rehabilitation Program is open to any Small Landlord owning residential rental units in Venango County, regardless of whether the unit is currently occupied. If the unit is vacant at the time of application, the property owner/landlord will be required to submit to a delayed income verification process. Prior to occupation of the unit, the income of the household must be verified and below the PennHome Countywide Limits (at or below 60% AMI) and they must be offered the option to sign a 3-year lease. At the conclusion of the project, a lien will be attached to the relevant deed, in the amount of assistance received. This lien/loan will be wholly forgiven after the 15-year period of affordability, provided all conditions of the Loan Forgiveness Criteria have been met. The property owner/landlord must submit copies of rent statements on an annual basis to ensure rent limits under the threshold for the Affordable Unit type. Annual statements will be due January 31st each year. At the conclusion of the 15-year period of affordability, the property owner/landlord must proactively request satisfaction of the forgivable loan, which requires documentation of all criteria satisfaction. If an agreement is made with a tenant and the unit is occupied by a household whom is not income-qualified, the loan must be immediately repaid. The property owner/landlord, by applying to this program, consents to Program personnel inspecting the property and reviewing property files for Code violations on an annual or semi-annual basis. The Small Landlord must meet all four (4) criteria at the end of the loan term in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. If all the following criteria are not met, the property owner will be liable for full and immediate repayment of the loan at the end of the term: 

  1. In the 15 years prior to the beginning on the date the loan was received, the Small Landlord has not committed a Serious Code Violation, with regard to the Small Landlord’s rental property for which the Small Landlord has taken no substantial steps to correct the violation.
  2. At the time funds were accepted, the Small Landlord offered a 3-year extension of the lease to the tenant occupying the unit. 
  3. For an ongoing period of no less than 15 years beginning on the date the loan was received, the Small Landlord has maintained ownership of the unit. 
  4. For an ongoing period of no less than 15 years beginning on the date the loan was received, either annual increases in monthly rent have not exceeded 3% of the base rent allowed for an Affordable Unit or, for any other year, the unit has been occupied by a tenant participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. 

The Rental Housing Rehabilitation funding for this year is limited; however, a large amount of interest during this application round may justify additional future funding. Projects for this program will be funded on a first-come first-served basis after they have been qualified. This is currently a one-time program with an application period starting on September 8th 2023 and ending on November 30th 2023. Landlords are encouraged to submit the Landlord Section as soon as possible to hold their place in the queue, and Tenants will have until November 30th 2023 to submit their sections. Application materials will not be accepted for the Rental Rehab Program after November 30th 2023. Applications will be considered for funding after the application period has closed. Any application which does not have all the required Tenant Sections will be disqualified. After qualification and selection, funded projects will be undertaken in Spring 2024 (subject to change). 

  1. CDBG Documents