Affordable Housing Task Force Submits Recommendations to Mayor and City Council
Options for equitable and inclusive economic growth initiatives follow year of work by 26-member Task Force
PITTSBURGH, PA – June 1, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — The City of Pittsburgh’s Affordable Housing Task Force submitted its 45-page list of findings and recommendations for addressing housing issues citywide today to Mayor William Peduto and Pittsburgh City Council.
The report will be formally introduced to City Council tomorrow. The Mayor and Council will work with Task Force members and other interested parties in coming weeks to review the proposals and possibly turn them into legislation or other action.
“Many factors affect housing affordability, from historical policies and current market trends, but by leveraging the energy of the current market and strengthening existing partnerships and programs, we believe our solutions can effectively alleviate housing instability in our city over time,” the report states. “Pittsburgh is a city that can get this right.”
The Affordable Housing Task Force was created by Council in February 2015 and Mayor Peduto named its members that May. It is co-chaired by City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and City Planning Director Raymond Gastil.
“For the first time in decades, Pittsburgh is facing the challenges of managing growth instead of decline, and providing affordable housing to all is likely the most pressing challenge we have. It is one that affects the very bedrock of city life, with impacts on our families, neighborhoods, schools, and economic opportunities,” Mayor Peduto said. “I want to thank Task Force members, and the public, for their tireless work over the past year, and look forward to working with them and City Council to implement solutions to citywide housing issues.”
“I am grateful to everyone who participated in the process to produce this report, as a lot of hours and thoughtful discussion went into its production,” said Councilman Lavelle. “Now, the most important work lays before us. City Council must act to ensure that all Pittsburghers have access to quality affordable housing, and that all of our neighborhoods are stabilized and benefit from Pittsburgh’s new investment and growth. One of the biggest challenges we face is dedicating the necessary financial resources to support the efforts recommended in the report.”
Housing issues differ neighborhood to neighborhood, with some Pittsburgh communities facing a shortage of affordable units and others harboring plentiful housing stock. In that light, the Task Force adopted three general goals in developing its recommendations:
Respect and stabilize existing communities
Create quality affordable housing opportunities
Maximize the impact of resources by ensuring lasting affordability
The findings and recommendations followed months of weekly and biweekly meetings and five community engagement meetings citywide. The recommendations include — but are not limited to — calls for the following:
Establishment of a citywide Affordable Housing Trust Fund, with an initial goal of raising $10 million annually to to build upon and expand existing housing programs and resources
Increased Utilization of the 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit, an underused tool that should be further used to expand its utilization in mixed-income projects, the preservation of existing affordable housing, and the rehabilitation of existing housing stock
Adopting tools to increase the development of mixed-income communities, which could include: Prioritizing the inclusion of affordable housing on all developments throughout the City of 25 units or greater that receive public benefits, including but not limited to tax abatements, TIF, height and density bonuses; and creating standard criteria for Affordable Housing Opportunity Overlay zones for the strongest markets for new market-rate housing development that would require inclusion of affordable units
Preserving existing affordable housing, including 15,000 deed- or income-restricted affordable housing as well as naturally occurring affordable housing spread across the City, noting that the costs of preserving a unit are on average significantly less than the costs of building a new one.
Protecting existing homeowners and tenants citywide through efforts including controls over reassessment spikes; the Rental Registration ordinance; just cause eviction protections and notification requirements for tenants of developments receiving direct public subsidy.
More comprehensive studies to analyze the feasibility and implementation of the recommendations
A copy of the full Affordable Housing Task Force report is available here, and backup documentation will soon be available here at the Task Force website.
For more information please contact City Planning Director Raymond Gastil at 412-255-2219
City of Pittsburgh