Mayor Peduto, Councilman Lavelle and City Housing Authority Applying for Federal Grant for Middle Hill

Choice Neighborhoods grant would support new, community-driven affordable housing around Bedford Dwellings

PITTSBURGH, PA – January 20, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The City of Pittsburgh is applying to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for federal planning and design funding for affordable housing units, and business and community development around Bedford Dwellings in the Middle Hill District.

The City and the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh are seeking a $2 million grant under HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program to write a “Neighborhood Transformation Plan” that would include plans for up to 1,200 new housing units, with 67% of them affordable.

HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program — which is already being implemented in Larimer — supports the growth of housing, people and businesses in impacted communities. Should the City successfully win the grant community partners will engage in a 24-36 month planning process to develop meaningful projects, programs and strategies to ensure successful redevelopment in and around Bedford Dwellings.

Through the process, the City and the HACP are committed to supporting the following in the Bedford Dwellings area: one-for-one replacement of all 411 units of its public housing units; mixed-finance development of up to 1,200 units with up to 67% of the units being affordable; supporting the Hill District Master Plan through neighborhood investment along the Centre/Bedford/Herron Avenue Corridors; and creating long-term wealth in the Hill District by working with MBE/WBE firms & CBOs.

A City Council resolution was introduced today by City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle authorizing the City to be a co-applicant for the grant and committing $10,000 in matching funds to support the planning.

“Working together we can turn the rebirth of the Hill from a dream into a reality. Starting with the Lower Hill, moving through Uptown and now the Middle Hill, all Hill District neighborhoods are poised for new opportunities for community growth,” Mayor William Peduto said.

“If awarded, the grant would provide a tremendous opportunity for the Hill to not only build off of our master plan, but to also begin doing some implementation work, such as the initiation of the planning for the redevelopment of Bedford Dwellings,” Councilman Lavelle said. “It is therefore critical that the city be a co-applicant to demonstrate our commitment to HUD.”

Choice Neighborhoods plans take a comprehensive approach to transforming neighborhoods by focusing on three factors:

● Housing: Revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing
● People: support positive outcomes for resident’s health, safety, employment, mobility, and education
● Neighborhood: transforms distressed neighborhoods into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to services, public assets, and amenities
Goals under the people-based plans include:
● Ensuring that existing residents benefit directly from Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan
● Developing high quality early learning programs & services
● Developing high quality education & programs for residents needing middle & high school, college, professional, business & trade school education
● Jobs and business development opportunities
● Increased incomes
● Affordable high quality health care and healthy lifestyles
● Resident safety, violence prevention
Goals under the neighborhood plans include:
● Increased livability
● Lower neighborhood vacancy rate
● Mixed-use and mixed income community
● Amenities: grocery stores, banks, health care, learning programs and services, arts and entertainment
● Public assets: parks and recreation
● Transportation alternatives that provide job access equal to or greater than other Pittsburgh neighborhoods
● Safe, walkable streets

“The Housing Authority is excited about the opportunity to begin the process of revitalizing Bedford Dwellings – the oldest public housing community in Pennsylvania and the last of the Hill District’s World War II Era public housing communities,” said Castor D. Binion, the HACP’s executive director. “We look forward to working with the City of Pittsburgh and our partners throughout the Middle Hill throughout this process. We are fully committed to achieving a plan that meets the affordable housing needs of the Middle Hill and further adds to the ongoing revitalization efforts already underway on the Hill.”

The Housing Authority has engaged Trek Development as the planning coordinator and co-developer on the Choice Neighborhoods application, and a meeting on the grant application was held with community leaders and partners this morning. A community meeting is planned for January 28.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh is also set to sign on as a partner, and the HACP and Trek are also working with other organizations to seek their support for the application.

The grant application is due to HUD by February 9, 2016. Grant awards are expected to be announced this summer.

A copy of a Power Point presentation on the application is available here.

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