Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is hoping to stabilize and grow affordable housing options in the city through a series of executive orders.
The five orders range from helping individuals stay in their homes through promoting larger homestead exemptions and increased tenant protections, to encouraging developers to make affordable options a priority through tax incentives and improved zoning rules.
Most of the provisions of the orders launch new internal efforts or call for agencies to simply refocus their efforts on affordability.
Lena Andrews, planning and development officer for Action Housing, a 60-year-old organization that's worked to support affordable housing in Pittsburgh, praised the mayor for his efforts.
“So now we’re all paying attention, we’re all focusing on policy and were thinking about a city-wide strategy and the mayor is spearheading that," Andrews said. "So I think it’s going to continue and I’m really glad people are paying attention."
Action Housing owns 1,400 affordable properties in the city.
Andrews said she is especially pleased the orders call attention to the need to help homeowners and developers clean up property titles. Without clean titles, often property owners abandon their homes and developers won’t touch them.
City Deputy Chief Development Officer Kyle Chintalapalli said the orders touch on most of the recommendations made by a city task force and signal a shift from the officials focusing on managing decline to directing growth.
Andrews said for generations Pittsburghers have taken for granted that housing was affordable.
“Then the market changed really quickly and all of a sudden, people who had been able to live in their neighborhood for a long time were no longer able to afford the rent,” she said.