Housing

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a mild spring day, 47-year-old Tom Lefevre stood on his apartment’s back porch, which overlooks a quiet, wooded area in the borough of Bellevue, just outside Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Randall Taylor and Jessica McPherson volunteer with Penn Plaza Support and Action, an advocacy group fighting to rebuild affordable housing at the site of the former Penn Plaza Apartments in East Liberty. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Stakeholders heralded transparency, sustainable development and potential plans for rapid city growth at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this week as part of the 4th annual P4 Conference. The event came as city leaders continue to balk at sharing their Amazon HQ2 proposal.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a charged public meeting Monday night, residents decried a plan to build retail and office space at the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty, once home to more than 200 low-income and elderly people. 

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The Fair Housing Act passed 50 years ago Wednesday as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Lawmakers enacted the legislation just one week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as riots flared in Pittsburgh and other cities. It was intended to protect buyers and renters from discrimination based on race, color, disability, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The rate of Pittsburgh renters facing eviction judgments is lower than state and national averages, according to new data analysis by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. But many displaced tenants never make it to the courtroom.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Some tenants who receive housing assistance in Pittsburgh could be eligible to live in better neighborhoods because of a new system expected to be implemented April 1.

More than 5,200 households in Pittsburgh currently use housing vouchers, which subsidize rent for privately owned rental units. Another 2,500 households are on a waiting list for the program.

The authority is holding two public hearings on the changes at noon and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 200 Ross St. in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a measure Thursday to help fund new affordable housing units near PPG Paints Arena. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The UrbanKind Institute held a community forum Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh to discuss how Amazon's second headquarters, or HQ2, could impact Pittsburgh's university communities.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Housing prices in the Pittsburgh region are growing more slowly than the national market, a trend that is expected to continue in 2018.

 

According to Trulia's chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, Pittsburgh-area home prices grew just more than 4 percent in the second half of 2017, which was slower than the national market’s 7 percent growth. McLaughlin said that’s because our local population is stagnant.

 

An-Li Herring / WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is still searching for a way to pay for a fund it established last December to expand the supply of affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents.

Friends of Mik Pappas

For the first time in 24 years, Ron Costa, Sr., will face an opponent in the Nov. 7 election for magisterial district judge. Attorney Mik Pappas is running to unseat him in Pennsylvania’s 31st Magisterial District, which includes eight East End neighborhoods.

Running as an Independent, Pappas calls himself progressive.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA


In October 2013, the Hill District held a triumphant groundbreaking: the opening of Shop n’ Save, the neighborhood’s first grocery store in 30 years.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Nineteen Pittsburgh-area colleges and universities are partnering with the Pittsburgh Promise to offer students who receive the scholarship an additional $2,000 a year for room and board costs.

Commuter colleges that don’t provide housing and have signed the agreement will offer funding for books rather than housing.

In exchange, the Pittsburgh Promise has agreed to promote these schools to students who receive the scholarship. Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril said the funding is another attempt to remove barriers that prevent students from completing a degree.

State Task Force Working To Change PA's Property Assessment Rules In 2017

Jan 4, 2017
Keystone Crossroads

 

Some counties in Pennsylvania go without updating their property values for decades, far longer than the six-year maximum wait recommended by the International Association of Assessing Officers.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to the creation of a “Housing Opportunity Fund,” but didn’t create a revenue stream for it.

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.

Biden Attacks Trump In PA Visit Over House Collapse Comments

Sep 27, 2016
David Goldman / AP

 

 

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday questioned Donald Trump's "moral center" as a result of the Republican presidential candidate's comments about America's housing collapse.

At a rally for Hillary Clinton at Drexel University, Biden said that Trump had bragged at Monday's presidential debate about profiting from the failed housing market. He said Trump's policies are not helpful for the country, calling the candidate "painfully uninformed."

Your Dilapidated Barn Is Super Trendy. Just Ask HGTV

Sep 1, 2016

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It's about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by 6-foot stalks of corn.

The barn's exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing, and there's a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It's about 100 years old, and it's not really useful.

"It's deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it," Gerdes says. "And it doesn't fit into modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits, and it's just obsolete."

Judge Strikes Down Ban On Renting To Felons

Jun 21, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

A Cambria County judge has overturned a borough's prohibition against renting to drug felons.

Judge Tamara Bernstein issued the ruling Thursday, more than four months after Darcy Smith sued the borough of Gallitzin.

Smith, 38, filed her lawsuit after getting an eviction notice upon moving into a new home with her three children. She'd been living elsewhere in the Gallitzin since her release from prison over a year prior.

Reflected Serendipity / flickr

According to the United Nations, approximately one billion people in the world live in sub-standard housing. Some researchers see a viable solution in a unlikely suspect: bamboo.

The plant is a safe and affordable resource that advocates believe could contribute to greener urban environments across the globe.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Members of an advisory board voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that Allegheny County stop seeking federal funding for transitional housing programs in order to make its grant bids more competitive, and instead focus on permanent housing and "rapid re-housing" services.

But if it's adopted by the county Department of Human Services, the policy change would dry up annual funding streams relied upon by local transitional housing facilities like HEARTH, a Shaler organization that houses survivors of domestic violence.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

At a hearing Thursday, the Affordable Housing Task Force presented its recommendations to protect low-income housing options in Pittsburgh to City Council members.

Ideas Worth Stealing: When Evictions Happen, Laws To Soften The Blow

Mar 8, 2016
Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

In July, 2015 the landlord at Penn Plaza, a private multi-family housing development in Pittsburgh’s rapidly gentrifying East Liberty neighborhood, slipped 90-day eviction notices under the doors of all tenants in one of their buildings (tenants of the other building now have until 2017 to vacate).

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

A slow but steady economic recovery means homeowners are spending more on renovations. But where is that money going?

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

At Kutztown University, a lot of students live near campus.

But not Shannon Peitzer.

She's a senior. And every morning she spends at least half an hour driving to school from her apartment.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

 

As Selena Strothers walked through her new two-bedroom home, a subsidized public housing unit in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, she intoned one phrase over and over, as a mantra.

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

It's the first thing in the morning, which means Ramona DiMassimo has already claimed her spot at one of the desks in the computer room of her apartment building. She says having Internet access down the hall from her apartment has been "habit forming."

Pennsylvania's Houses Are Old — And That's A Problem For Everyone

Dec 9, 2015
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

Around Pennsylvania, you'll see lots of historic homes: romantic 18th century red brick houses, stately Victorian-era mansions and dense rowhomes built for industrial workers. 

The state's old houses, half of which were built before 1959, can give a neighborhood character. But they can also cause a lot of problems.

Some of the homes are filled with health hazards like lead paint and ancient wiring. Others are simply falling apart with age.

And many residents can't afford the repairs.

More Housing Coming Soon To Pittsburgh's Strip

Aug 6, 2015

In the 1800’s, the building in the 2400 block of Smallman Street was the Duquesne Cigar Factory. As recently as this week, it was an industrial vacuum cleaner company. And soon, it will be home to 38 more condominiums.

Its neighbors? Other condominium buildings, a whiskey distillery and soon, according to published reports, an Apple Inc. office.

Real estate agent Kathy Wallace lauded Pittsburgh's rich, architectural history. As the Steel City's identity evolved, many buildings were left underutilized and sometimes abandoned as their uses changed over time, she said.

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