HEARTH plan for ‘affordable housing’ in Ross draws fire

A plan to build what is being described as “affordable housing” on the border between Ross and Pittsburgh is running into opposition from those living on both sides of the boundary.

Rodenbaugh AveHEARTH, a nonprofit agency that works with homeless women and their children, has teamed up with Trek Development to build 11 or 12 apartments in six duplex buildings on the Ross side of Rodenbaugh Avenue. Rodenbaugh is the boundary between the city and township.

Most of the tenants would be drawn from the ranks of Allegheny County residents who earn 50 percent to 60 percent of the local median income, or about $29,000 to $35,000 for a family of four.

“These will not be people on public assistance but women who are working as teacher’s aides, paramedics or social workers,” said Judy Eakin, HEARTH’s executive director. About 8,000 families in the North Hills meet that criterion, she said.

Plans for the new project, to be called HEARTH at Benet Woods, are expected to be submitted to Ross officials next month.

Plans call for a mix of two- and three-bedroom apartments, each with its own garage. While most units will have two floors, two of the units will be on one floor and fully accessible for people with disabilities.

Tenants will pay rent and utility costs equal to about 30 percent of their incomes, a situation that will allow many of them to save money for a home of their own.

By Len Barcousky – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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