Affordable Housing

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Four applications to revitalize neighborhoods and foster social and economic diversity passed initial scrutiny by the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday.

The URA is asking for a combined $1.5 million in state Keystone Communities Program funding to fill gaps in local resources. State decision makers will choose which, if any, projects they want to fund.

If approved, the money would be split four ways.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nearly seven months after Pittsburgh City Council voted to create a fund for affordable housing and neighborhood rehabilitation, it’s still not clear where the money will come from.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Ashley Morris often brings her 7- and 3-year-old daughters, Taniea and Ta’naea, along with her to run errands downtown. The 26-year-old can’t afford to fix her car, so they take the bus. Even though the line goes right by her place, she doesn’t like living in Hazelwood.

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Construction of a 33-unit affordable housing complex in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood is expected to start this week. Action-Housing Inc. will build the six-story Krause Commons at the former Poli’s Restaurant property on Murray Avenue.

Lena Andrews, development officer with Action-Housing, said the site was ideal because of the community surrounding it.

“We really like to build our projects in strong neighborhoods that have access to a lot of amenities,” Andrews said.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nowhere in the country can someone work 40 hours a week at a minimum-wage job and afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

On average, a Pennsylvanian earning minimum wage would have to work 83 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental.

There are a lot of misconceptions about low-income earners. Primarily, that they’re not working hard enough, said Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Mayor Bill Peduto acknowledged there may be some merit to Democratic challenger Rev. John C. Welch's plan to limit lead in Pittsburgh's drinking water at a mayoral forum hosted by 90.5 WESA and The Incline on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, May 16, three candidates will be on the ballot to become the next mayor of the city of Pittsburgh. Voters will decide who will oversee city government for the next four years and who will serve as Pittsburgh's ambassador. 

Flickr user Nick Normal

Pittsburgh City Councilmen Daniel Lavelle and Ricky Burgess on Tuesday introduced bills to finance the city’s affordable housing trust fund.

One of the bills proposes a 1 percentage point increase in the total realty transfer tax buyers would pay. But that increase, from 4 to 5 percent, wouldn’t go directly to the fund.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s median home price is up more than 9 percent since this time last year, according to Zillow. It also estimated the city's median monthly rent is more than $1,300 -- a jump from 2016. As the city’s real estate market and apartment rates boom, some lower earners haven’t been able to keep up.

Kevin Gavin/Sarah Kovash/Pittsburgh City Council

Incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto will face two opponents in the May party primary.

Officials with the Allegheny County Board of Elections confirmed Tuesday that North Side Councilwoman Darlene Harris and former Peduto supporter Rev. John Welch both filed petitions ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and community activists have recently called attention to what many say is an “affordable housing crisis” in Pittsburgh. As new development comes to neighborhoods like Lawrenceville and East Liberty, many low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters are being priced out of the neighborhoods.

Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA

Four years ago, Rev. John Welch, dean of students at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, was a strong supporter of Bill Peduto in his successful bid for mayor.

Four years later, Welch wants to unseat Peduto.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents facing eviction from Penn Plaza and their supporters rallied on the steps of the City-County building Tuesday afternoon, calling on the city to step up efforts to increase access to affordable housing.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is hoping to stabilize and grow affordable housing options in the city through a series of executive orders.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Housing Authority sold five homes in Penn Hills and three lots in Duquesne to the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity.

Frank Aggazio, Executive Director of the Allegheny County Housing Authority, said the partnership is a way to offer homeownership to low-income county residents who no longer need housing assistance. The county sold the five dilapidated properties and lots for $218,000.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Politicians from the local and state level are partnering in a new way to find out what issues are most important to Pittsburgh’s black residents and how to address them.

Rick Knief / Citi

Redevelopment in Pittburgh's East Liberty neighborhood has magnified issues of accessibility and affordability in housing.

Matt Nemeth / WESA

  The Confluence – where the news comes together – is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin for a behind-the-headlines look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week on The Confluence, panelists discuss affordable and accessible housing in Pittsburgh. We mark the launch of The Caucus, a new print newspaper taking an in-depth look at the state government in Harrisburg. And we talk to long-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jack Kelly, whose final column appeared last Sunday.

City of Pittsburgh

This is the first in a three-part web series looking ahead to 2017 with members of Pittsburgh City Council.

Pittsburgh's nine Democratic City Council members will soon find themselves governing in an era where Republicans control not only the state legislature, but both houses of Congress and the presidency. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Affordable housing, more efficient transportation and park improvements are what Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he’ll focus on in 2017.

But the New Year also brings a measure of uncertainty for the county executive.

Fitzgerald said he’s still waiting to see what happens with a new presidential administration in office.

“We don’t live in a vacuum here in Pittsburgh and in Allegheny County,” he said.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

  The Pittsburgh Tenants Union has been "a long time coming," said Ronell Guy, executive director of The Northside Coalition for Fair Housing. The resident-focused community development organization is spearheading efforts to create a city-wide tenants union.

daveynin / Flickr

A three-day housing summit hosted by the University of Pittsburgh this weekend will bring together academics and activists.

The University-Community Housing Summit will explore urban renewal, human rights and gentrification through talks, workshops and neighborhood tours.

Mindy Thompson gave the keynote address Thursday. Her 2013 book Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities explored the urban renewal of Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

One year after Pittsburgh’s Wage Review Committee released its report detailing the hardships faced by low-wage workers in the city, Councilman Ricky Burgess said there is still more work to do.

Burgess counted among the victories of the last year the unionization of workers at Allegheny General Hospital and UPMC’s pledge to raise wages for service workers to $15 per hour by 2021.

In addition, workers at four other hospitals in the Pittsburgh region will see starting wages increased by $15 per hour over the next three to five years.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

An empty, three-acre parking lot lies at the corner of Station Street and Euclid Avenue.

You can’t actually park there. Weeds grow in the cracked cement between lines of faded paint.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Affordable housing advocacy groups rallied downtown Tuesday, urging people to attend Wednesday’s City Council public hearing on a proposed Housing Opportunity Fund.

Mark Moz / Flickr

Rent abatement, housing renovations and new affordable housing construction projects could be on the agenda if City Council approves a tax increase worth an estimated $10 million.

Herry Lawford / Flickr

Whole Foods Market plans to open a new store two blocks from its Centre Avenue building.

Its chosen location is the site of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartments, a large affordable housing complex that's in the process of being demolished. The building’s owner drew vocal opposition from the community and local lawmakers last year after deciding to evict tenants in favor of redevelopment. 

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Pittsburgh voters will decide whether the city should increase its realty transfer tax from 2 percent to 3 percent in order to fill a trust fund that would pay for affordable housing initiatives across the city, according to the organizers of a petition drive.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Local elected officials gathered in Bloomfield on Monday to celebrate the opening of the Penn Mathilda Apartments, a new affordable housing development meant to keep low-income residents in the East End, especially as gentrification pushes up rent payments.

For a lot of us, the hospital's emergency room is a stressful place.

Not so for Glenn Baker.

When Baker, 44, steps into the emergency room at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, he's completely comfortable.

He has a favorite double-wide chair in the corner, knows where to find the Cheetos in the vending machine, and the staff is like family.

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