New Research Shows Too Many in Pittsburgh Paying Too Much of their Income in Rent

Building Inclusive Communities Work Group and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania aim to build prosperous future for Western Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA – May 11, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Building Inclusive Communities Work Group, made up of organizations who love Pittsburgh and value its history and diversity, joined the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania today for the release of “Building Inclusive Communities: A Review of Local Conditions, Legal Authority and Best Practices for Pittsburgh.” The new report provides an analysis of what other cities have done to grow inclusive communities and offers ideas that Pittsburgh might adopt in order to retain its diverse, vibrant urban life for years to come.

“Pittsburgh has built a reputation for being one of America’s most livable cities,” said Liz Hersh, Executive Director of the Housing Alliance. “It took years of hard work to get to this point, but to stay there the City must commit to ensuring that new housing is accessible and affordable to people of all income levels.”
The study, conducted by Robert Damewood of Regional Housing Legal Services, found that:

1) Pittsburgh should adopt a mandatory or strong voluntary inclusionary policy whenever public benefit is involved in new housing development.
2) The City should set its affordability standard at 60% of Area Median Income or affordable to people living on about $24,000 a year or below because that’s where the greatest need is.
3) The City should adopt incentives for developers to provide affordable units.
4) The City should support and enable permanent affordability of units through Community Land Trusts that extend the life of public subsidy.

The release coincides with the launch of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s Affordable Housing Task Force, which has been tasked to research and develop solutions to address the shortage of affordable homes in the region. The Mayor has tapped Hersh to serve on the Task Force.
“It’s an honor to have been asked to serve on the Task Force,” Hersh said. “Through the years, the Housing Alliance has fought to help all parts of the state put homes within reach of all Pennsylvanians. We will bring that same level of knowledge and commitment to this effort.”

Under Hersh’s leadership, the Housing Alliance has helped win over $350M in new dollars for housing and contributed essential research, publications, coalition building, outreach and education that have been the driving force in the enactment of multiple anti-blight laws, including Land Banks and Blighted Property Conservatorship.

Hersh – who has led the Housing Alliance for 13 years – continues to be the state’s leading voice for producing more homes within the reach of all citizens. Her current focus is the expansion of the state Housing Trust Fund to all 67 counties. Currently, trust fund dollars are only distributed in Marcellus Shale counties.
To read “Building Inclusive Communities: A Review of Local Conditions, Legal Authority and Best Practices for Pittsburgh,” please visit www.HousingAlliancePA.org/resources.

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