ShareThis Page
Allegheny

Pittsburgh council ups URA budget for affordable housing

Bob Bauder
| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, 5:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday tweaked Mayor Bill Peduto’s proposed 2019 capital budget to give the Urban Redevelopment Authority an additional $2.5 million for economic development and low-income housing projects.

Local activists accused the administration of cutting the housing budget and urged members to approve the added funds. They said development across the city has made rents and the cost of purchasing a home unaffordable for 20,000 residents.

“Please, I ask that you do not cut the 2019 budget for housing,” Crystal Jennings, 34, of Elliott said during a council meeting. “Housing is a human right.”

An administration official argued the city is spending more than ever before on housing for residents in lower income brackets.

“Any claim that the budget reflects a cut in affordable housing dollars is just factually inaccurate,” said Dan Gilman, Peduto’s chief of staff.

Council for several weeks has approved amendments to Peduto’s proposed $571 million operating and $132 million capital budgets in preparation for a final budget vote on Tuesday.

The issue centered on a $1.1 million URA line item for economic development and housing.

Last year Pittsburgh gave the URA $5.3 million, but Gilman said that was because the city received more than expected in federal housing funds. The URA received $2.2 million in 2016 and $3 million in 2017.

Gilman argued that the URA funding cut was offset by $3.5 million going to Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh projects in Larimer and Bedford Dwellings in the Hill District. He noted that City Council last year approved $10 million annually for a newly created Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Council with Peduto’s blessing unanimously upped the URA contribution by $2.5 million, according to Councilman Ricky Burgess of North Point Breeze, who chairs council’s Finance Committee.

“It wasn’t what we wanted, but it’s better than nothing,” Jennings said after the meeting.

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me