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Pittsburgh leaders announce plan to increase affordable housing options

PITTSBURGH — Finding a place to call home in the City of Pittsburgh may be difficult for low-income families searching for affordable housing.

Experts said the affordable housing the city has, is either full or in need of repair.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Ed Gainey announced a plan to change that.

Walking through the hallways of the Bry-Mard Apartments in East Hills; new lighting is going in and fresh paint is going up, but just a year ago the HUD-subsidized development was in disrepair.

“Back in 2020, the roof was leaking,” said Kendall Pelling, the CEO of Rising Tide Partners, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit working to preserve affordable housing.

With no money to fix it, tenants would have been forced out or forced to live in an apartment with mold and water damage. Pelling said many families seeking affordable units face that reality every day.

“We see the mold coming through their kitchen ceiling, we see the plaster falling off the kitchen ceiling, we see the roaches, we see the lead paint, and so many other issues,” Pelling said.

But in this case, funding from city bonds established almost two decades ago saved the building. Pelling’s non-profit worked with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to secure limited funding.

“There hasn’t been a significant effort to bring city bond money to housing issues since the Murphy administration,” Pelling explained.

He’s talking about former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy who hasn’t been in office in 17 years.

On Wednesday, the Gainey administration announced its plan to change that, introducing new legislation that would invest in Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

“$25-40 million in new money and affordable housing over the next three years,” announced Mayor Ed Gainey.

Pelling said the legislation is critical.

“If we don’t create more housing at all levels the rents will continue to rise and will see more homelessness,” Pelling said.

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