610-948-1797 info@petrach.org

Who is Petra?

by | Apr 19, 2023 | General News

Series of doors indicating Petra opening doors for individuals needing homes.

Petra Community Housing exists to serve low and very low-income individuals and families by developing and managing safe, quality, and affordable housing in the greater Phoenixville/Pottstown area.

As the overall demand for rent-limited housing stock continues to increase, the need for affordable housing for low and very low-income individuals continues to be in short supply.  Despite ongoing efforts of the Pennsylvania government to make millions of dollars available to invest in low-income affordable housing, there is a shortage of 267,074 rental homes affordable and available for extremely low-income renters. (Source Pennsylvania | National Low Income Housing Coalition (nlihc.org))

Over Petra’s history the mission has remained to “Strengthen communities by creating affordable housing and empowering our residents for a quality living experience.” The “how” has adapted over time based on economic realities, available opportunities, and community needs.

Currently the properties Petra manages serve the following underserved low-income groups:

People with Disabilities

For people with disabilities, there are far too many barriers to housing. Without affordable, accessible housing in the community, many are at risk of institutionalization or homelessness. * Petra believes every individual, with or without a disability, has the right to enjoy a well-maintained and affordable residence they can call home.  Petra provides multiple units throughout our properties geared toward those with a disability and provides safe, quality, and affordable rental housing for these individuals.


Nearly 2.6 million families with children experience “worst-case housing needs,” meaning they are extremely rent-burdened, their income is at or below the poverty line, they spend half of their income on housing, and receive no housing assistance from the government. **

Petra believes that every family has the right to enjoy a well-maintained and affordable residence.  A place they can call home and raise their children in a safe and supportive environment.  Petra strives to be more than a landlord by partnering with multiple agencies specializing in meeting the needs of children and their families.

Seniors (62 and up)

Over 109,000 low-income senior renters in Pennsylvania pay more than half their income for housing. When low-income renters can’t find a decent, affordable apartment, they are more likely to be evicted and risk becoming homeless. ***

Petra believes that individuals who have reached age 62 or older deserve the opportunity to enjoy a well-maintained, safe, and affordable residence.  Petra provides multiple units throughout their properties where seniors have the opportunity to live in the comfort of their own apartment.  Petra also strives to be more than a landlord to seniors by providing a Resident Service Coordinator who facilitates connections with outside service agencies who can help them age in place.


Petra does not operate alone.  Currently and throughout our history Petra has been able to carry out its mission with the help of many government agencies, private foundations, other non-profit service agencies and individual donors.  See our Partners here.

As we continue to operate our properties, we are focused on creating and maintaining a quality living experience for our residents.  This is borne out in a variety of ways.

  • For our senior and disabled residents, we operate a transportation program called Petra on the Go. This program provides a regular run for residents at a nominal cost of $2 round trip to grocery and other stores. Currently we are fortunate to have a volunteer bus driver. The cost to operate this program is approximately $7,500 per year.  The $2 per trip goes towards offsetting the cost of fuel.  We have opportunities for sponsorship ads on the side of the bus. If you are interested, you can view the brochure here.
  • For families at SteelTown Village (STV) we have, with the help of partners like Communities that Care (CTC) and others, provided a backpack and school supplies to all school age children living at STV. Also, with the help of CTC and the Joy of Sox provided gifts at Christmas time to these same children.  These activities can always be enhanced by individual donations which can be made here.
  • For residents in our senior and disabled buildings (Bard Complex and Flag House) we have volunteers who pick up food donations and deliver them to the buildings to help residents keep their cost to eat healthy down. If you are interested in learning more about these, you can find out more here.
  • For our residents at Freedom House, we are fortunate to have a Resident Service Coordinator who regularly coordinates activities and events for these residents including Bingo, a Summer Picnic, and a Christmas Party. These events are a great opportunity for these disabled residents to enjoy a great time of positive social interaction.

As we look to our future, we see that despite the economic, social and community obstacles in the path of developing new low-income housing, we have an Outstanding and Worthwhile Mission which must be moved forward.  We are encouraged and empowered by our existing partners, donors, volunteers, board members and staff.  However, to continue to advance the Mission we need your help!

How can you help? We are glad you asked. As we kick-off our new and improved website we would ask that you please do one or more of the following:

We appreciate your support and look forward to you becoming a part of the Petra Community.

Have a great day.


* Housing for People With Disabilities & Their Families | The Arc

** The State of America’s Children 2021 – Housing and Homelessness — Children’s Defense Fund (childrensdefense.org)

*** Federal Rental Assistance Fact Sheets | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (cbpp.org)