Congressmen Rothfus and Smucker celebrate community revitalization

Rep. Lloyd Smucker and children from the Feb. 23 community celebration event at the Olivet Boys & Girls Club in Reading.
Rep. Lloyd Smucker and children from the Feb. 23 community celebration event at the Olivet Boys & Girls Club in Reading. Submitted photo

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA 12th Dist.) and Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA 16th Dist.) joined Habitat for Humanity of Berks County, Our City Reading, Customers Bank, and other community leaders on Feb. 23 for a ceremony to celebrate the success of homeownership programs that have helped to support the community revitalization progress in Reading.

New initiatives were discussed including an innovative partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Berks County and community financial institutions that will allow for increased affordable homeownership opportunities. The event was hosted at Olivet Boys and Girls Club and included a musical presentation by the youth.

“The people of Reading and the surrounding areas should be excited about all the wonderful things happening here,” said Rep. Smucker. “I applaud Customers Bank, Habitat for Humanity of Berks County, Our City Reading, and FHLBank Pittsburgh for their support, partnerships, and innovative ideas. Today’s celebration is an example of what can be achieved when we all work together.”

“As Pennsylvania’s only member of the Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on housing, I’ve been travelling the Commonwealth to see first-hand what our financial institutions are doing to make communities better places to live and work,” said Rep. Rothfus. “Today’s celebration is a great example of what can be achieved when ideas, resources and dedication come together.”


In addition to Congressmen Rothfus and Smucker, other speakers included Craig Poole, president of Habitat for Humanity of Berks County; Richard Ehst, president and COO of Customers Bank; Jim Boscov, chairman and CEO of Boscov’s and chairman of Our City Reading; Winthrop Watson, president and CEO of FHLBank Pittsburgh, and a resident of one of the new Habitat for Humanity homes.

Craig Poole, president of the board of Habitat for Humanity of Berks County stated that revitalization is a community effort. “Habitat is excited about the opportunity to partner with community financial organizations and we thank Customers Bank for their early commitment. We will now be able to make a bigger impact together as we change the city of Reading today and tomorrow,” he said.

“We are honored to have these two Congressmen with us today to celebrate the power of partnership,” said Richard Ehst. “We are especially pleased to highlight our new mortgage program with Habitat for Humanity of Berks County.”

“Our City Reading is pleased to be a part of the revitalization of Reading,” said Jim Boscov. “Our mission is to create pride and stability through home ownership and we are glad to join our partners here today as we take the next steps in moving forward together.”

Annually, FHLBank Pittsburgh sets aside approximately 10 percent of its net income to fund its Affordable Housing Program (AHP). The AHP supports projects that provide affordable housing to individuals and families whose incomes are defined as low (51 to 80 percent of area median) or very-low (50 percent and below of area median).

Winthrop Watson discussed FHLBank Pittsburgh’s commitment to Pennsylvania, noting that financial institutions throughout the state hold approximately $51.5 billion in FHLBank credit products, including advances (loans to members) and letters of credit, and have received approximately $159 million in AHP funds.

“In Pennsylvania alone, AHP grants have helped more than 24,000 low-income households. We are proud to partner with our member institutions to fund these vital programs.”