Proposed housing project for Luzerne County

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania has a shortage of rental homes available and affordable to lower income households according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

One community leader says he’s seen the housing problem up close and he’s proposing a big project to address it. Today he shared his plans with Eyewitness News.

This rendering is an example of what this proposed housing complex could look like.

Gregory Griffin hopes to turn it into a reality in Luzerne County. Griffin leads the Luzerne County Blight Committee, doing free handiwork on people’s homes. He’s noticed an alarming number of people struggling to pay rent.

“They’re barely making it and times are very hard with rent and purchasing new homes,” Griffin said.

But a natural gas facility coming to Newport Township is expected to pump billions of dollars into the local economy. Nacero Incorporated should bring in thousands of construction jobs and about 500 permanent high-paying jobs. Griffin says he welcomes the quality jobs Nacero may bring but the area needs more housing to accommodate incoming industries.

“It’s getting out of control, the rent, and we’re very concerned with more workers coming into the area, making very high wages and basically being able to outbid our citizens,” Griffin said.

Griffin is proposing a project to build respectable homes local workers can afford. Subdivisions built on reclaimed mine land in Luzerne County. He’s garnered support from the Earth Conservancy and Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority.

“We’re going to get the players together, and we’re going to make it happen. Thousands of new homes that are affordable mortgages for working families,” Griffin said.

Well-built homes starting around $100,000 and he says there are corporations that can make it happen. First, they need to get the right developers on board as well as local officials.

“There is no reason why every working family cannot attain the American dream of owning a home. There’s no reason for that. We all need to work together and we can get this done,” Griffin said.

Terry Ostrowski with the Earth Conservancy said, “We support his efforts to bring affordable housing to the area and are willing to support him where we can.”

Luzerne County Council will get to weigh in on the proposal at the next council meeting.

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