Councilman Wilson discusses protecting trans youth and new real estate developments
Photo: Office of Councilman Wilson
A few weeks ago, I was proud to present the first proclamation issued by Pittsburgh City Council to “Protect Trans Kids” to several young trans students and activists in the City of Pittsburgh. I am greatly appreciative that all of my fellow Councilmembers recognized the urgent importance of standing up to protect our trans youth here in the City of Pittsburgh and joined me in co-sponsoring this proclamation. It was a great honor for me to invite these incredible students to draft this proclamation. After disgusting language was used against a young trans person and their family in Observatory Hill, I was looking for ways to express that such behavior is both unacceptable and intolerable on the Northside, or anywhere in our city.
Trans youth are the subject of an unrelenting and hostile culture war in our country these days. We cannot forget that they are still children, and all children thrive when they feel safe.
When Sue Kerr of the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents (PLC) convened some trans youth from across our City to brainstorm ways to stand up against such harassment, we offered them the opportunity to come together and draft a proclamation to express our shared sentiments about protecting trans youth. Our intention in enacting this proclamation is to make it an annual tradition at council. I am confident that the energy generated by the annual tradition of drafting and updating this proclamation will generate more and more ideas about other robust steps that City Council can take to make Pittsburgh a safer place for trans youth. At the end of the day, the only way to fight hate speech is with more speech. City Council’s proclamation, and the broad coverage it generated in our city, is now a part of the effort to push back against the hate speech that is too often directed against trans youth and adults. This is only the first step, but it is a critical step in decreasing the sheer amount of hateful speech directed against our trans neighbors.
I also want to share about the work that the City of Bridges Community Land Trust (CBCLT) is doing on the Northside to make and keep home ownership affordable for low and moderate income homebuyers. According to the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), housing is affordable when those living at the house are spending no more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Community land trusts (CLTs) create affordable housing while still allowing low and moderate income residents to build equity as homeowners.
Moreover, because CLTs retain ownership of the underlying land, CLT housing remains permanently affordable, even as the original beneficiaries of an affordable home price sell and move on. This long-term, continuing benefit makes CLTs an especially efficient use of affordable housing subsidies. By locking in permanent access to affordable housing, CLTs play an important role by bringing balance to areas with large amounts of market-rate development.
Observatory Hill recently partnered with City of Bridges Community Land Trust to bring three permanently affordable houses on Bonvue Street to market in that Northside neighborhood. These are four-bedroom houses that are priced around $140,000, after qualified buyers receive additional grants from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and down-payment assistance from CBCLT. Target buyers for these homes in Observatory Hill could have annual household incomes as low as $50,000.
Eight permanently affordable homes on Lanark Street in Fineview, with construction expected to begin next summer, will also become available to interested homebuyers soon. CBCLT partnered with the Fineview Citizens Council to bring affordable houses to this neighborhood as a mix of two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes, priced around $135,000 per house after qualified buyers receive additional grants from the URA and down-payment assistance from CBCLT. Target buyers for these homes in Fineview could have annual household incomes as low as $45,000.
This month, CBCLT will also make a two-bedroom rental unit, on Warren Street in Fineview, available to a holder of a Section 8 voucher. CBCLT is also managing additional rental units in Fineview and may have more vacancies in future months. If you are interested in buying or renting a permanently affordable home through the City of Bridges Community Land Trust, reach out to Crystal Jennings-Rivera, at (412) 621-1811 Ext 110. You can also check your eligibility for any CBCLT home quickly and securely online at cityofbridgesclt.org/apply/.
If you have any thoughts about any of these updates, please feel free to call us at (412) 255-2135, email us at [email protected], or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you
COUNCILMAN, DISTRICT 1