U.S. Congress

John Fetterman introduces federal Whole-Home Repairs legislation

The bipartisan bill mirrors the home improvement bill passed in Pennsylvania in 2022

John Fetterman and Nikil Saval

John Fetterman and Nikil Saval KENT NISHIMURA—LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES // State Sen. Nikil Saval

A bipartisan piece of legislation from Pennsylvania is getting its opportunity in Washington, D.C. 

Democratic U.S. Sen John Fetterman, alongside Republican colleague Sen. Cynthia Lummis, introduced a federal version of the Whole-Home Repairs program, which provides grants and forgivable loans to homeowners and small landlords looking to repair and weatherize their properties.

The Whole-Home Repairs Act, Fetterman said, hopes to expand on the popular Pennsylvania program by creating a five-year pilot at the federal level to help address the country’s broader housing shortage. 

“Pennsylvania’s Whole-Homes program was an incredible success,” Fetterman said in a statement. “This bill will make it so that more working families can afford repairs for their homes and help ensure money that goes out through existing programs goes further. We are in a housing crisis – and this is one critical piece of the solution. It’s a perfect example of how government can work in concrete ways to meaningfully improve people’s lives.”

The commonwealth’s Whole-Home Repairs program, championed by state Sen. Nikil Saval, received $125 million in funding to help property owners repair and weatherize their homes and support training and pre-apprenticeship programs. 

Saval said his team had been advising Fetterman’s office as the legislation was developed, adding that it’s “extremely heartening” to see the bill receive bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. 

“We, of course, had high hopes for this but we also had wanted to make sure that the program made sense in any context,” Saval said, noting the backlog of repair applications that exist in many commonwealth counties. “Pennsylvania gives ample testimony to the importance of the program on its own terms. We have skyrocketing demand in all the counties where the program is being administered,” Saval told City & State. 

Now, more than a year since payouts and repairs began, several lawmakers are calling for the program to receive more funding in this year’s budget proposal.

Gov. Josh Shapiro indicated his support for the program in his budget proposal – planning another $50 million investment in the program for the coming fiscal year. 

Saval, who often referred to the program as a “one-stop shop” for home repairs, has previously noted the legislation being considered in other states, even as congressional members showed interest in the initiative. 

“Now, states like Maine, Rhode Island and Maryland have adopted versions of this program,” Saval said last month. “Through the Whole-Home Repairs Program, Pennsylvania can tackle many of the root causes of community instability by keeping people in their homes and keeping those homes safe and healthy.”