In this monthly column, Pittsburgh District 1 Councilman Bobby Wilson shares his message for Northsiders.
Photo courtesy of Councilman Bobby Wilson
Did you know that the City of Pittsburgh has money available to help you improve your housing? In February, Pittsburgh City Council took up Bill 104 to authorize the Housing Opportunity Fund’s (HOF) plan for spending money to make housing affordable across Pittsburgh this year.
Before casting my vote, I spent a good deal of time learning about the HOF, and I want to share what I learned with all of you. This fund helps us develop and preserve affordable housing in our city.
Housing is considered affordable when you pay no more than 30% of your income on all of your housing costs, including utilities. The HOF is trying to create more affordable housing in Pittsburgh. This year, it shall give $9 million to Pittsburghers to do one of five things: build or fix affordable rental units, help renters stay in their homes, make it easier to buy a home, help homeowners keep up with repairs, and build or fix affordable homes for sale.
Nine million dollars is expected to help 700 families maintain or improve their housing in 2020. This sounds both like a lot of money and a lot of our neighbors helped, but on the Northside, it is only a start. One study found that we need 17,000 more homes in Pittsburgh to house families who are forced to spend over 30% of their incomes on housing and utilities. We have a lot of work to do to make housing affordable for all Northsiders. Let’s start by spreading the word about the HOF programs that I just voted to authorize. You can learn more about these programs at https://www.ura.org/pages/HOF or (412) 255-6574.
If you are a landlord or contractor and you want to improve affordable rental units or homes for sale, there are HOF programs that will help you. If you are trying to buy a home, you can get up to $7,500 in down payment assistance. If you are a renter trying to stay in your home, call 211 and the United Way will help you. If you are a homeowner trying to repair your home, you can get up to $30,000 for necessary renovations.
My office is ready to help connect you with all of these programs. If you have any questions, concerns, or stories about affordable housing and how access to it has impacted your life, please let me know at (412) 255-2135 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact my staff here. We look forward to hearing from all of you.
Let’s get to work!