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City Council signs bill aimed at creating more affordable housing

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PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill that will help create more affordable housing in the city.
 
As white-collar companies move in and more higher-end condos and apartments are built, the city is seeing a shortage of affordable rental units. The shift is pricing some people out of the neighborhoods they’ve called home for years.
 
"We should see it as simply one brick removed from a Berlin Wall that stands between the working poor and housing justice,” said resident Mel Packer.
 
The Housing Opportunity Fund calls for millions of dollars to be invested in a housing trust fund. The goal is to raise $10 million annually, but where that money will come from is unclear.
 
One option discussed was raising the realty transfer tax by one percent. That move faces still resistance, in part because it would raise the tax to five percent, the highest for homeowners statewide.
 
"We have to find a way to do it,” said Tim Stevens, of the Black Political Empowerment Project. “We find a way to do everything we want in Pittsburgh. We've done miracles in this city. We need to find another one."
 
While significant questions remain, some residents did attend Tuesday’s council hearing to applaud members for taking a step in the right direction.
 
"I look at every one of you, you fight for every one of your communities. But, when you come together you fight for us all,” said resident Norah Parker.
 
Mayor Bill Peduto is expected to sign the bill.