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Applications open for Hill District home repair program

A skyscraper under construction in the lower Hill District.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Tax dollars generated by the Lower Hill development reside in the $7.1 Greater Hill District Reinvestment Fund. The fund will provide the money for the home repair program.

Residents in Pittsburgh’s Hill District can now apply for funding to make home repairs.

Residents can apply for up to $20,000 to make critical fixes. The Urban Redevelopment Authority, which will review applications, says special consideration will be given for repairs that are needed to keep a home habitable, to people with lower incomes, and to households that have children, seniors, or people with disabilities.

The URA approved $465,000 for the program at its meeting last week. It is one of the first major investments of the Greater Hill District Reinvestment Fund, which was created to ensure that development on the 28-acre Lower Hill site created direct benefit for the Hill’s existing residents. The fund was a key piece of negotiations with the site’s developers.

The fund is steered by 12 community stakeholders, and co-chaired by City Councilor Daniel Lavelle and Marimba Milliones, who leads the Hill Community Development Corporation. Though URA staff will review applications, the fund’s advisory board will give final approval.

The fund currently has $7.1 million. The money represents an estimate of what a tax abatement for the development site would have generated over 10 years, and a bank capitalized it up front. Community leaders thought having the money all at once would better position the neighborhood to get ahead of the effects of the development. Otherwise, the tax money would have trickled in over a decade.

URA officials said they plan several rounds of applications for the home repair program; this first application period will run through mid-September.