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Affordable Housing Initiatives in Hazelwood and Lawrenceville Before URA Board


 Affordable housing initiatives in Hazelwood and Lawrenceville are set to go before the Urban Development Authority board of directors on Thursday, further expanding the agency's support of housing programs in the two neighborhoods. 

In Hazelwood the board will consider a $30,000 grant for a Homeownership Incubator project by the Hazelwood Initiative (HI) that will renovate a blighted vacant house and transform it into two affordable rental units.  

HI will lease the units to households that are interested in learning to become homeowners. The households occupying the units will enroll in monthly homeownership counseling sessions while repairing their credit, and a portion the tenant’s monthly rent will be set aside toward their down payment requirements.  

The expectation is that one household per year will become a homeowner through this incubator program, which has an overall budget of $197,750.  

While the project involves only a single building, HI regards this initiative as a key component of a larger strategy to reduce blight and increase homeownership for low-to-moderate income Hazelwood residents. 

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh has been the general contractor for HI’s “Rehab for Resale” imitative and is a partner in the Discount Home Repair Program. The URA has supplied HI with grants, loans and second mortgages for "Rehab for Resale,"  which supported the renovation of more than six homes to date. They have all been sold to households with incomes at or below 80%  

In Upper Lawrenceville the URA board will consider a $50,000 grant to support scattered site land acquisition and housing rehabilitation in phase two of the Lawrenceville Community Land Trust, which aims to build four new affordable units in the neighborhood at a total cost of $1 million. 

Land trusts create permanently affordable home ownership opportunities for individuals who have been priced out of the private market. They build homes that are guaranteed to be permanently affordable and if sold provide sellers a return on investments while ensuring  homebuyers at the same income level have access to affordable homes. 

The URA provided $445,000 in grant funding for the 7-unit ($2.222 million) phase one Community Land Trust development.  All 7 units will be permanently affordable to households with incomes at or below 80% AMI. 

The Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United contracted with EvolveEA to lead a community planning process for Upper Lawrenceville with funding from the Design Center. With the input of over 200 residents and a neighborhood steering committee, the Upper Lawrenceville Community Plan was released in the summer of 2013. One of the priorities of the Community Plan is that Upper Lawrenceville must offer “housing for all,” and that community partners must move to ensure that both economic diversity and affordability are maintained amidst the exponential growth in the residential real estate market.


Source: City of Pittsburgh


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