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Allegheny

URA to shepherd Pittsburgh's annual $10 million funding for affordable housing

Bob Bauder
| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, 2:15 p.m.
Workers in June 2017 demolished the remaining portion of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza Apartments that included apartments affordable to low-income residents.
Workers in June 2017 demolished the remaining portion of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza Apartments that included apartments affordable to low-income residents.

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday approved a 12-year agreement with the Urban Redevelopment Authority for administration of the city’s $10 million affordable housing fund.

Under the agreement, $1 million will go to the URA for staff salaries, consultant fees and other administrative expenses. The remainder will pay for programs in 2018 that include homeless rental assistance, subsidies to help with a down payment and closing costs on new home purchases and fixing up vacant structures for rent and resale.

Council unanimously approved the agreement in a preliminary vote. A final vote is scheduled for Tuesday. The URA board approved the agreement two weeks ago.

City Council in 2016 created the fund to address the city’s affordable housing problem. The ordinance requires Pittsburgh to set aside $10 million annually for 12 years from its annual budget. In December, council approved a controversial increase in the city’s realty transfer tax to help offset the expense.

The tax on property sales increased from 4 percent to 4.5 percent in January and will jump to 5 percent in January 2020.

Officials estimate 17,000 city residents need housing at below competitive market rates.

Half of the housing fund each year must pay for programs that help households earning 30 percent or below the area median income level. Twenty-five percent must go to those at 50 percent or below the AMI and 25 percent to those at 80 percent or below the AMI. For a family of four, 30 percent of AMI is $22,800, 50 percent equals $38,000 and 80 percent is $60,800.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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