It’s no secret that Pittsburgh has an affordable housing problem. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh has estimated that our region currently faces a shortage of about 15,000 affordable homes. In addition, there’s estimated to be a shortage of 8,200 housing units affordable to households at or below 30% of the area median income, according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The good news is that steps are being taken by local officials to help increase affordable housing in the city. The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority plans to issue up to $42 million in bonds to increase affordable housing in the area, funds that should be available for use in 3-5 months if all goes according to plan.

I was quoted in that Post-Gazette article saying that while it’s great news that more money is being allocated toward these efforts, there’s still plenty more work to be done. Housing prices and property values continue to rapidly rise, not to mention costs to build new units or to rehab existing ones.

Here at Neighborhood Community Development Fund, we’re working to help solve this problem by providing loans to neighborhood organizations and their partners to turn vacant and dilapidated houses into affordable, owner-occupied homes throughout Allegheny County. We also work with nonprofit and for-profit developers to create affordable rental housing and the reuse of vacant buildings in neighborhood commercial districts.

We believe housing should be affordable to everyone, no matter a person’s race, gender or level of income. Here’s hoping our local leaders continue to develop effective solutions to help address this crisis and build a better future for our communities.

– By Mark Masterson, Executive Director