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Important Community Meeting in N Point Breeze and Homewood, Thursday Nov 2!

We know that transit assets like the MLK East Busway are often the first sites of displacement and gentrification in cities, and that the housing costs along the stops of the East Busway have been escalating in recent years. Rising housing and rental costs mean that low income transit riders that depend on public transit to get to jobs, food, childcare, family, and places of worship are being pushed out to affordable housing in the county, often to places that have little to no access to transit.

We want to ensure that people that depend on our buses, and particularly long term residents, are able to stay in their communities and near good bus lines as development happens. The URA is going to hold a community meeting on Thursday Nov 2nd at Construction Junction (214 N Lexington St Pittsburgh, 15208) to talk about the future of the Lexington Industrial Park site. It is 16 acres of prime land that is adjacent to the Homewood Ave busway stop. This is an opportunity to begin to address the crisis of affordable housing in the city, by building affordable units that allow residents to live, work and play in the community without needing a car to get around. It is also critical that this site not be full of market rate apartments that would sharply drive up the cost of rentals and homeowner taxes for adjacent businesses, tenants, and homeowners.

In 2014, the URA did a community study of development around the Homewood Ave station  in collaboration with PCRG. These were the guiding principles for equitable development that emerged through that community survey:

• The community should be involved from the beginning and throughout the process

• People who live in the community should get to stay there

• Development should create a strong and durable community that attracts and welcomes new residents

• Publicly-held land should benefit and support the economic stability of the neighborhood / public first

• Local business owners should have the opportunity to grow their businesses and new businesses in the community should be supported

• Transit should get people to jobs, education, goods and other opportunities

• Policies that support these principles should be permanent and not tied to a specific project or administration

 

We are calling on the URA to adhere to these principles, and to specifically include mixed income housing as part of this Request for Proposals (RFP) that it will put out for developers.

 

PPT has put forward the following proposal for the site, and we are encouraging residents to support this model:

 

 

Why have moderate density affordable housing on the site?

-To maintain diversity in the neighborhood of both income and race

-To begin to address the affordable housing unit shortage of 20,000 units in this city

-So that people that rely on public transit have good access to our best transit assets, and to incentivize more people to use alternative modes of transit to cars

-So that neighboring businesses like the East End Co-Op, the Construction Junction and subsidiary renters, and other smaller organizations are not priced out.

-So that neighbors that are tenants aren’t forced to leave because of rising rents, and homeowners on a fixed income not be priced out because of rising taxes.

 

What is a reasonable, positive and achievable proposal on the site?

Unit Distribution 1/3 Market Rate 1/3 Shallow Subsidy 1/3 Deep Subsidy
How Does Price Get Calculated? According to Market Demand and Cost of Development Units Priced at 30% of either 50% or 60% of Area Median Income Units Priced at 30% of the Occupying Tenants’ Household Income
Estimated Cost of 1 Month’s Rent $1300-$1400 a month for 1 bedroom Up to $1,133 a month, for a family of 4 living in a 3 bedroom apt Varies according to Income Level of the Tenant
How it would be financed? This would help cover the cost of development Low income housing tax credit (either 4% or 9%) Low income housing tax credit plus housing authority project-based voucher

 

How do we help ensure extended affordability?

  1. The URA could have a ground lease on the site, with affordability provisions, and lease to a developer who would comply with these conditions OR
  1. If a non-profit developer were to develop the site, after the 15 year tax credit period ran out, they could have the right of first refusal to buy the site from the investors, to continue to maintain affordability
  1. Talk to the URA about how tenants could have equity on the site, potentially by having the residents be offered an affordable buyout option after the 15 year tax credit ran out, to turn into a cooperative ownership structure.

 

Some Developers that do Attractive, Responsible Affordable Housing in the City include:

Action Housing

Trek Development

Telesis Corp.

 

Complementary Uses?

It would be good to have ground level retail that supports local jobs and supports local needs.