R. DANIEL LAVELLE

Post-agenda meeting set for July 18

After reviewing all the funding options forwarded by the Affordable Housing Task Force, Pittsburgh Councilmen R. Daniel Lavelle and Rev. Ricky Burgess opted to push one of the few choices that didn’t require state approval, a one-percent increase in the realty transfer tax to two percent.

The increase, supported by Mayor Bill Peduto, is estimated to raise between $8 million and $10 million per year to eliminate the city’s deficit of affordable housing, which task force studies estimated at 17,000 units.

But, as Burgess told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview July 6, that wouldn’t do it in a fashion that was big enough to rebuild depressed Black neighborhoods like Homewood.

“You can’t make a meaningful difference doing three or four houses at a time,” he said. “We have to do 100, 200 at a time. That’s how you make change.”

REV. RICKY BURGESS

To that end, he and Lavelle proposed another piece of legislation that would allow the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh to float a $100 million bond, which, Burgess said, could potentially leverage $1 billion in foundation and private funds. More directly, Lavelle said, it would allow for large affordable housing projects to go ahead immediately.

The two pieces of aforementioned legislative proposals are collectively referred to as the “One Pittsburgh Investment Strategy.”

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