PITTSBURGH, PA (January 28, 2016) Mayor William Peduto’s administration has secured agreements ensuring another 30 years of affordable housing in the Crawford Square housing development in the Lower Hill District.
Furthermore — due to financing provided by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh as part of the agreements — many units could be offered at even deeper affordability rates than they were previously.
Crawford Square was redeveloped in the early 1990s with financing provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and consists of 348 rental units, of which 188 are rented to low income households. The Peduto administration learned late last year that the original covenants over the property were due to expire in 2016, and 143 of those affordable units could then convert to market rate housing. (The remaining 45 units were due to convert to market rate in 2028.)
Mayor Peduto wrote the ownership partners of Crawford Square, McCormack Baron Salazar and AIG, in November asking that they work with the City to preserve affordability at the site for decades to come.
“With the increasing popularity of Pittsburgh as an urban destination and the resultant rising rent levels, it is extremely critical that the City maintain the economic diversity that makes it the special place it is. Please know that it is of the utmost importance that the Crawford Square affordable units remain affordable for the next 30 years,” the Mayor wrote.
The City and other partners reached agreements over the past several weeks to ensure the affordable units will stay.
“Revitalization does not have to mean gentrification and displacement,” commented Vincent R. Bennett, President of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. “The Peduto administration and the Housing Authority, through their support of Crawford Square, is demonstrating their commitment to maintaining and deepening affordable rents and helping people of all incomes move up in the neighborhood, not out.”
The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh agreed to restructure an estimated $14 million in debt associated with the development, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency agreed to restructure its financing and support new low income tax credits for the site.
“Housing that’s available at various rental rates is critical to a city’s economic health because it ensures the region’s diverse workforce can live in urban neighborhoods and share in the growth of the area,” said Brian A. Hudson Sr., executive director and CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. “We’re proud that PHFA could play a role in helping Crawford Square continue to offer affordable rental units for the city’s residents.”
To finish the deal, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh agreed to put $6 million into the development. In exchange the Housing Authority will place between 40 and 60 project-based vouchers in Crawford Square. This will allow for deeper levels of affordability on those units than are at the site currently, increasing the housing options for more renters of lower incomes. The Housing Authority board is scheduled to vote on the matter at its meeting today.
“In the 1990s Crawford Square was a model of public and private cooperation to provide quality affordable housing. This new agreement continues that cooperative spirit and most importantly ensures the commitments we have made to our residents of every economic level will continue for decades to come,” Mayor Peduto said.
Ensuring long-term affordability at Crawford Square comes as the City, the Housing Authority, the URA and others – including the City’s Affordable Housing Task Force – are working together to preserve housing options for Pittsburgh residents in neighborhoods citywide.
“HACP currently has more than 8,500 individuals and families on our waiting lists for public housing and housing choice vouchers. We will continue to look for opportunities to leverage available resources and take advantage of new, efficient and innovative methods to address the city’s growing need for safe, affordable housing,” said Housing Authority Executive Director Castor D. Binion.