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Kathy A. Possinger Housing Policy Fellowship

In 2019 PHFA created the Housing Policy Fellowship to further the Agency's mission and foster the development of new leaders in the housing and community development field. In 2021, the fellowship was renamed the Kathy A. Possinger Housing Policy Fellowship in honor of PHFA board designee and affordable housing champion Kathy A. Possinger. During her two-decade career, Possinger served Pennsylvanians through her housing work in both the public and private sectors. She held a variety of positions within the housing field including Special Advisor to the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Director of the Center for Community and Housing Development, Executive Director of Tri County Community Action, and the City of Harrisburg’s Deputy Director of Housing.

The goal of this program is to support the development of new perspectives and approaches to significant unmet housing or community development needs across Pennsylvania through a self-directed research project. The program will also cultivate new housing and community development leaders.

Fellowship Details

  • Two Fellowships will be available in 2024.
  • Stipend: Each fellow receives a stipend of $1,000 per month ($12,000 maximum), to be used for travel, conferences, technology, research tools, and/or administrative expenses.
  • Tenure: Maximum one year, beginning within six months of receipt of award letter.
  • 2024 Fellows Applications must be submitted via email to no later than 5PM EST, July 31st, 2023.
  • Notifications of decisions will be sent via email in November 2023 .

Applicant Eligibility

The Fellowship is open to anyone who meets the following criteria:

  • A legal resident of Pennsylvania
  • Over the age of 18 years

Applicants do not need to have an institutional, organizational, or governmental affiliation. Applicants could be currently enrolled students (graduate, undergraduate, full-time, or part-time), employees of a non-profit, for-profit, or unit of government, or even self-employed.

Fellowship eligibility has been left intentionally broad to ensure it is accessible to all Pennsylvanians with a relevant research project in need of financial support.

Project Eligibility

Fellowship projects must have a connection to housing and community development in Pennsylvania. The findings from and application of Fellowship research should be relevant and useful in expanding PHFA’s and other housing policy groups' knowledge of the topic of study. Projects that utilize a unique perspective or innovative solution/methodology are encouraged. Additional details on project topics can be found in the Fellowship Application.

How to Apply

Application Materials for the 2024 Fellowship cycle will be available in April. Please check back in April for further updates.

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Please review the Fellowship FAQ for answers to common questions regarding the Fellowship. If you have questions that are not addressed in the FAQ, please contact

Housing Policy Fellows and Projects

Current Fellow

Jongwoong Kim: Dr. Kim's project intends to connect and analyze often separately discussed yet critical/timely issues --- property tax and aging in place --- for the well-being of the growing older Pennsylvanians. Using GIS and spatial analysis techniques, the project will examine the geography of locally varied property tax components and their implications for older Pennsylvanians considering aging in place, especially those with limited financial means. The project will develop a set of publicly accessible online maps that highlight locally varied residential property tax components at different administrative levels and geographic scales. This project will also create a series of rankings and indices of county/municipality to provide a more comprehensible assessment of the geographic-financial feasibility of aging in place in Pennsylvania from the perspective of the property tax burden.

Julie Wilson: Ms. Wilson's project will explore how new approaches to cooperative housing might intervene in the escalating housing affordability crisis through the medium of documentary film. Specifically, the film will chronicle Common Roots' work to establish a renting cooperative where renters are able to build equity by collectively governing and managing their homes. The film will situate Common Roots' effort in the history of housing cooperatives in the U.S. and within the context of global cooperative movement. The film will be targeted to affordable housing professionals, grassroots actors and organizations, and general audiences interested in housing issues and/or cooperative enterprises.

Past Fellows

Carolyn Ristau: Ms. Ristau's fellowship project entitled Residential Zoning by Race, explored the factors that influence the location of single-family and multi-family residential zoning districts in Pittsburgh over the past 100 years utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis. After reviewing a number of factors commonly used to explain zoning decisions and discrepancies, Ms. Ristau’s work suggests that redlining and race have significantly influenced the location of single-family vs. multi-family zoning districts in Pittsburgh. This difference in zoning type and location contributes to variations in housing access and affordability that have and continue to create and enforce racial housing disparities. As part of her fellowship, Ms. Ristau created a website to showcase the findings of her work.

Rachel Fawcett: Ms. Fawcett's fellowship project provides an overview of the community land trust model and existing literature, context, and insight into the existing CLTs in Pennsylvania, and an in-depth look into the State College Community Land Trust.