Lower project cost/mortgage obligation allows more attainable rental rates.

About Us

Why was this fund started?

How We Got Started

The New Beginnings Attainable Housing Fund grew from a 2018 visioning process conducted by Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Chester.  This process generated four strategic initiatives, Westminster called them God Sized Dreams, which chart Westminster’s path forward.  One dream is to take a leadership role within the community to ensure that no one is forced to live in substandard, unsafe housing or experiences homelessness.  One specific objective of this dream is for Westminster to be a catalyst and facilitator for developing affordable housing programs.  The creation of the New Beginnings Attainable Housing Fund is one of the ways Westminster is meeting this objective.  Pictured at the left are Westminster and Chester County Community Foundation leaders at the January 15, 2020 signing ceremony creating the Fund.

The Problem

Locally in Chester County (2018 Data from the United Way’s ALICE Project)

  • 20% of our households (39,000 households) struggle to meet basic needs and live on a survival budget:
    • $78,600 for 2 adults, 2 school aged children
    • $33,200 for a single adult

Available housing is unattainable for many in our workforce:

  • Average employee wage =$80k
  • Median 2020 House value in Chester County is $382.5k
  • A middle school teacher with a part time accountant partner and 2 school-aged children could afford only 13% of the single family homes sold in 2017 in Chester County
  • Average Chester County police officer making $70,000 could only afford 23% of homes sold
  • Average truck driver making $49,000 could only afford 8% of homes sold

Renters have problems too:

  • Need to make between $25-27/hour to afford rent for average apartment in Coatesville ($1,300/month)
  • Single parent earning less than the above struggles to afford these apartments
  • In the Kennett Consolidated School District 47% of the renters (1,235 households) pay more than 30% of their income in rent

Inadequate supply of safe, affordable, available housing units.

  • Affordable housing = no more than 30% of your income is for housing; 29% of Chester County households pay more than that
  • Need housing that is attainable for everyone
  • Most development focused on high-end market, but safe attainable housing needed for workforce
  • Land available for development becoming more scarce

Many different types of funding are required for attainable housing

  • Loans – size limited
  • Housing Tax Credits – federal and local
  • Grants/Subsidies – federal, foundation, housing trusts
  • Promised federal rental assistance
  • Multiple sources required, all with different timing and requirements-becomes complex

Who We Are — Advisory Board

Kathryn Evans, MSW

Executive Director of Church Housing Corp.

Kathryn is the Executive Director of Church Housing Corp. (CHC).  CHC provides safe, affordable, housing and supportive services to families, seniors with modest means, and persons with special needs.  Over the past 20 years Kathryn has governed all aspects of the management team as well as created a strong social service department within the company.  She has been able to pair her education, a B.A. from Temple and a MSW from Penn, with years of experience to create living environments that enable residents to thrive and prosper in their communities.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Phoenixville Hospital Board of Trustees
  • Endowment Commission of St. Peter’s in the Great Valley
  • Affordable Housing Council of Phoenixville
  • Phoenixville Health Foundation Board of Directors (2012-2020)
  • The Clinic Board of Directors (2006-2012)

AWARDS/CERTIFICATION

  • March of Dimes- Women of Achievement Excellence in the Field of Public Service Award 2019
  • Chester County Housing Authority – Landlord of the Year 2017
  • Senator Citation – Excellent Service Award 2015
  • National Center for Housing Management- Tax Credit Certification

Gary Liddick

Retired CPA, Westminster Presbyterian Church

A 1976 graduate of Lehigh University, Gary has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and over thirty years of increasing financial and operational management responsibility, (most recently with SAP America, Inc) including more than twenty five years of significant leadership experience and seven years of public accounting discipline and experience. Strong analytical background with proven leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills. Also proven ability to lead complex projects in virtual environments.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Member of Westminster Presbyterian Church Session Board
  • Co-Chair of Westminster Home Team
  • Past co-chair of Westminster Vision Team 2018
  • Past President of Westminster Presbyterian’s Board of Trustees
  • Board Member and Treasurer of North Star of Chester County, a 501(c)3 serving single working parents in Chester County
  • Past Member of Lehigh University Alumni Board of Directors
  • Past co-chair of Lehigh University Alumni Awards Committee

AWARDS/CERTIFICATION

  • Certified Public Account, 1980
  • Lehigh University Alumni Award Winner-1986

 

Andrew (Andy) D.H. Rau, Esq.

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees

Andrew Rau has more than two decades of experience as lead solicitor and counsel for both municipal bodies and private clients. His practice includes municipal, governmental and public education law, as well as land use, zoning and real estate development. Andy advises non-profit corporations, business improvement districts, and other organizations with unique and specialized business and regulatory needs. He also represents diverse development interests in navigating the complex land use approval process.

Prior to practicing law, Andy served as a writer and producer for CNN. His newsroom experience helps him assimilate and analyze divergent viewpoints, an essential component to success in both the private and public sectors.

PRACTICE RECOGNITIONS

  • Rated “AV / Preeminent” by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review ranking / evaluation system
  • Recognized as a 10-year “Super Lawyer” by the Thomson Reuters attorney rating service
  • Honored as U.S. News & World Report “Best Lawyer”
  • Named a “Top Lawyer” by Main Line Today Magazine

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Eagles Mere Foundation  Trustee (2017 to present)
  • Eagles Mere Conservancy President (2012 to 2015)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates (2011 to present)
  • Chester County Bar Association Municipal and Land Use Section Chair (2008 to 2011)
  • Chester County Bar Foundation President (2005)
  • Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania & Community Impact Legal Services Board of Directors (2001 to 2006)
  • Legal Aid of Chester County, Inc. Board of Directors (1999 to 2000)

 

James (Jim) Scanlon, Ed.D.

Superintendent West Chester Area School District, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Dr. Jim Scanlon has proudly served as superintendent of the West Chester Area School District since 2009. He is passionate about the importance of public education in our society and honored to lead this school system. Under his leadership, the district has seen increases in test scores, as well as more students applying to and being accepted to colleges. The district continues to focus more intently on a “whole child” approach, with the recognition that each student is an individual who may learn in a unique way. Scanlon has focused on strong communication and community involvement and credits the district’s success to its dedicated and caring staff, as well as its supportive community.

PRIOR AFFILIATIONS

  • Superintendent, Brandywine School District, Wilmington
  • Superintendent, Quakertown Community School District

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • West Chester Rotary Club – member
  • West Chester Area Education Foundation – board member
  • West Chester Area Chamber of Commerce – member and active in business advocacy committee
  • Exton Chamber of Commerce – member
  • Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry – member
  • Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence in Equity – member
  • West Chester Borough Diversity in Action Committee – member
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Chester – member

AWARDS/CERTIFICATION

  • 2018 Citizen of the Year, Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce
  • Leadership in Education Series – Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Presentation to new and aspiring superintendents, 2019, 2018, 2017.
  • Young Men and Women in Charge Outstanding Educator Award, 2018
  • Downingtown National Bank First Outstanding Contributions to Education Award, 2018
  • United Way Partner of the Year award, 2017
  • Temple University Outstanding Dissertation Award, 1997

 

Edward (Ed) J. Gallagher

Senior Vice President of Corporate Banking at Univest

A 1984 graduate of Wilkes University in Business Administration, Ed has 20+ years of commercial lending history working in the financial services industry serving the Greater Philadelphia region. Seasoned in commercial lending, credit, new business development, leadership supervision, and portfolio management for business banking and middle market commercial clients. Ed is a strong finance professional who received an Executive Masters in Business Administration from St Joseph’s University focused in Business, Management, and Marketing.

PRIOR AFFILIATIONS

  • Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at Phoenixville Federal Bank & Trust, Phoenixville, Pa.
  • Senior Vice President and Regional Chief Lending Officer at Customers Bank (FKA New Century Bank), Phoenixville, Pa.                                              1

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Phoenixville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Phoenixville Area Low Income Housing Committee
  • Community Lenders of Pennsylvania
  • Citizen Advocacy of Chester County
  • Owen J. Roberts Girls Basketball Coach
  • Norchester Basketball League Organizer
  • Member Saint Basil the Great Church of Kimberton
  • Saint Basil the Great CYO Basketball Coach

 

Barbara Necarsulmer

Strategic Planning & Operational Support Consultant for Non-profits, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Barbara Necarsulmer is President of Necarsulmer Consulting.  In 2017 she retired from the University of Delaware after a 30-year career in the Small Business Development Center. She began her career there as a business advisor and instructor, finally serving for twenty five years as Associate State Director/ Chief Operational Officer for the SBDC’s statewide business consulting and entrepreneurial education programs. Her responsibilities included personnel management, program and budget development, financial and grant management, marketing and general operational oversight for the network.  In addition, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers and the Accreditation Committee.

Prior to coming to the University Necarsulmer earned a BA in Economics from Bucknell University, an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and worked in both the corporate sector and in small business.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Westminster Presbyterian Church – member of the Session, chair of Worship and Arts committee, member of Board of Trustees
  • Kennett Library – Board of Directors
  • First State Community Loan Fund (now True Access Capital) – President, Board of Directors and Loan Review Committee.

 

Burton (Burt) Rothenberger, Ph.D.

Retired Oil Company Executive, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Burt retired from Sunoco, Inc. in 1999 after 32 years in various technical positions.  He served as Technical Manager of Sunoco’s Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, and Toledo, Ohio, refineries and as Vice President of Research & Development.

He served on several municipal and regional planning commissions in Ohio and Chester County, including as Chairman of the Westtown Township Planning Commission.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Member of Westminster Presbyterian Church Session Board
  • Board Member and Vice President of Family Promise of Southern Chester County
  • Board Member of Family Service of Chester County
  • Member of the Decade to Doorways Governance Board
  • Past Board Member of Habitat for Humanity of Chester County (14 years)
  • Past President and Board Member of Chester County 2020
  • Past Treasurer and Board Member of the Chester County Community Foundation

AWARDS/CERTIFICATION

  • Certified habitat steward by the National Wildlife Federation
  • Certified Ornamental Gardener by Longwood Gardens

 

CCCF Liaison
Beth Harper Briglia, CPA & CAP

Executive Vice President of Philanthropy Services, Chester County Community Foundation – ex officio

Beth works directly with individuals, families, corporations and nonprofit organizations that are interested in establishing charitable funds at the Foundation. She also manages the Foundation’s grants, scholarships and legacy gifting programs.

Beth has worked with nonprofit organizations providing consulting and training services through LaSalle University’s Nonprofit Center.  In addition, she has over a dozen years of accounting and consulting experience in diversified financial service environments, including asset management, insurance and banking.  She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP).

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Vice Chair of Bishop Shanahan High School Advisory Board, Chair of the Finance Committee, and member of the Legacy Society Committee
  • Member of the Kiwanis Club of Phoenixville
  • La Salle University’s Alumni Board (past president)
  • The Clay Studio Board of Directors (past president)
  • Catholic Social Services (past Board Vice Chair and member of the Finance Committee)
  • Junior Achievement (past member, Chicago).

 

Who We Are — Grant Process Committee

Rob Necarsulmer

Retired CFO, Westminster Presbyterian Church

A 1980 graduate of Lehigh University and a 1982 graduate from Columbia University Business School, Rob has 39 years of experience in finance, accounting, operations and administration. Rob has worked for a public company, a privately held company and most recently as Chief Financial Officer of a non-profit, Winterthur Museum. Significant strengths and experience in operational and strategic planning, finance and accounting, analysis and management.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Vice President of Westminster Presbyterian Church Board of Trustees
  • Member of Westminster Home Team
  • Board Member and Treasurer for Westminster Endowment Fund
  • Board Member of Chester County Council Boy Scouts of America (past Treasurer and Executive Committee member)
  • Board Member and Vice President of West Chester Food Cupboard
  • Finance Committee member – Chester County Community Foundation
  • Board Member and Treasurer of The Vine Ministry a 501(c)3 focused on food insecurity

AWARDS/CERTIFICATION

  • MBA – Columbia University (1982)
  • Boy Scout Silver Beaver award for community service (2021)

Roy Young

Senior Vice President, Head of Regional and Community Banking Group, US Bancorp

A 1988 graduate of Lafayette College, Roy has a Bachelor or Arts degree in Economic and Business, complemented by over 30 years in banking, credit and corporate finance.  His career has encompassed leadership positions with a number of banking institutions both regionally and nationally.  Currently at U.S. Bank he leads the relationship management team that works with regional and community banks across the country and as a member of the senior leadership team, is involved in a number corporate initiatives.  Strong analytical, leadership, interpersonal and communication skills.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Current Member of the Grant Process Committee for the New Beginnings Fund
  • Past Member of Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Board of Trustees
  • Former Coach at Brandywine Youth Club
  • Active Volunteer through Westminster Presbyterian Church with initiatives addressing hunger, food insecurity, housing and care for our planet

Gary Liddick

Retired CPA, Westminster Presbyterian Church

A 1976 graduate of Lehigh University, Gary has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and over thirty years of increasing financial and operational management responsibility, (most recently with SAP America, Inc) including more than twenty five years of significant leadership experience and seven years of public accounting discipline and experience. Strong analytical background with proven leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills. Also proven ability to lead complex projects in virtual environments.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Member of Westminster Presbyterian Church Session Board
  • Co-Chair of Westminster Home Team
  • Past co-chair of Westminster Vision Team 2018
  • Past President of Westminster Presbyterian’s Board of Trustees
  • Board Member and Treasurer of North Star of Chester County, a 501(c)3 serving single working parents in Chester County
  • Past Member of Lehigh University Alumni Board of Directors
  • Past co-chair of Lehigh University Alumni Awards Committee

AWARDS/CERTIFICATION

  • Certified Public Account, 1980
  • Lehigh University Alumni Award Winner-1986

 

Fran Lutz

Managing Partner, True Path Advisory Group

A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Fran has a BA degree in Economics, complemented by over 30 years in banking and the financial services industry.  His career has encompassed leadership positions with a number of banking institutions both regionally and internationally. He also served as CFO of Opportunity Finance Network, the national leadership network for mission-related community development financial institutions. Currently at True Path, he works primarily with community development organizations to build cultures of outcome, strengthen financial infrastructure and manage enterprise risk in service of the mission.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Tamani World Children Project – Board – orphanage based in Kenya
  • La Communidad Hispana (LCH) – Board Finance Committee – federally qualified health clinic in Kennett Square
  • Oweesta – Board – Native American poverty alleviation & community development organization.
  • Penn State University SMEAL business school  – Center for Sustainability – Board member
  • Fahe – Boar Finance Committee – Appalachia-based affordable housing non profit
  • Beautiful Mess Ministries – Board – nonprofit community service organization
  • SCCON (Southern Chester County Opportunity Network) – Planning Team – local poverty alleviation community advocacy collective

A Letter from the Board

This has been a challenging year for all of us, but especially so for those living on a survival budget, or less.  Many lost jobs or had hours reduced due to COVID restrictions.  Although evictions were prohibited, many Chester County households are months behind in rent and utility bills, all of which must be made up when restrictions are eased.  On top of that housing costs in Chester County continue to outpace wage growth – by a lot.  The most recent United Way ALICE data (2018) showed that housing costs for a family of four on a survival budget increased 34% from 2017.  Housing supply continues to lag demand, making it even more attractive for developers to build market-rate housing.

So where’s the good news for attainable housing?  In 2020 the Pennsylvania legislature enhanced the low income housing tax credit program, a few attainable housing projects like the Pinckney Hills Commons got funding, the County Planning Commission’s A+ Homes initiative continues the focus on housing needs, and – of course – the Chester County Attainable Housing Fund got started.  Public/private/government partnerships are going to make the difference.  As a Board we are optimistic and excited, but also pragmatic. So we urge your support and your advice. 

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