Pittsburgh Needs 21,000 Affordable Homes, Study Says

DSC01828Mayor Bill Peduto’s newly named Affordable Housing Task Force has daunting numbers to chip away at. For starters, a shortage of 21,000 homes in Pittsburgh that are affordable enough for families of four whose income is $24,000, which is 30 percent of the area’s median income for that size household.

Attorney Robert Damewood of Regional Housing Legal Services called the shortage “severe” and said that throughout Allegheny County, more than 30,000 people live in housing they can’t afford, most paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. “This makes them very insecure and at risk of eviction.”

The  has just issued a report on a situation it expects to escalate as rents rise in more neighborhoods.

Mr. Damewood researched and prepared the report for the Housing Alliance’s Building Inclusive Communities work group. It recommends the city establish inclusive zoning, assuring a percentage of affordable units in any development, either by mandate or incentives to developers, such as land use approvals, height density bonuses and additional build-outs at no extra cost. In flat markets, a community land trust or land bank can preserve properties for affordable development.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/05/06/Pittsburgh-needs-21-000-affordable-homes-task-force-reports/stories/201505060095

New Mexican War Streets Grocer Connects With Pittsburgh North Side Neighborhood

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rob Collins believes he has the formula to reanimate a piece of lost history in the Mexican War Streets.

Collins is owner of the Allegheny City Market, a corner grocer that opened in Pittsburgh’s North Side last month in space formerly occupied by Doug’s Market.

Doug’s went out of business in January because of years of declining sales. Collins, however, envisions a more successful outcome.

“There’s no reason this place shouldn’t be a gold mine,” Collins said recently from behind the counter of his Arch Street shop. “It started off really slow, but it’s picking up. The last two days have been really busy.”

Collins, 46, of Manchester has worked in the grocery business for more than two decades. In 2010, he opened Bryant Street Market in Highland Park, which, he said, “is crushing it.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5891864-74/collins-market-streets#ixzz2yp4GTuDA
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Philadelphia Looks To Turn Reading Viaduct Into Urban Park

Much like the High Line was in Manhattan, the Reading Viaduct in Philadelphia is an abandoned elevated railroad line that runs through parts of Philadelphia.  The idea of taking in urban views from an elevated garden style park is catching on in Philly.

This concept was a huge success in Manhattan and even got celebrities like Diane von Fürstenberg and Edward Norton involved in the project.

After eight years, two Philadelphians succeeded in lobbying city council to take control of the viaduct from the Reading International Company.  The city is presently in contact with Reading International to take control of the larger section of the viaduct.  The Center City District is working with SEPTA to create a park on the shorter section of the viaduct, which is owned by SEPTA.

The Reading Viaduct is much wider than the High Line in Manhattan and will make the space more versatile.  People are envisioning a renaissance in the area that will bring in food, entertainment, outdoor activities of all sorts, artists and housing.  The park would stimulate growth for Chinatown, eliminate blight and attract new residents.  The High Line has had a tremendous economic impact on the area of Manhattan it is located in.  Philadelphia could expect similar results.

We applaud Philadelphia’s leadership for getting on the “rails to trails” bandwagon and doing something innovative that will enhance the quality of life for city residents!

Philadelphia Housing Concerns, Landlord Violations And Creation Of A Land Bank

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This should sound familiar to Pottstown residents.  Our big city neighbor to the SE is grappling with many of the same issues that Pottstown is facing: landlords, vacant and blighted properties and gentrification of neighborhoods 

There was a Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods Conference at Temple University yesterday attended by about 300 people and some big investors. 

Subjects like illegal rentals, blighted lots and private citizens having the ability to buy property from the Redevelopment Authority versus that land being sold to developers were discussed.  Another hot topic was creation of a Land Bank so developers can more easily purchase vacant lots. 

The conversation was spirited by all accounts as city residents expressed their frustrations on these subjects.