The city of Pittsburgh's Housing Opportunity Fund is one step closer to investing in affordable housing.
Pittsburgh City Council approved 16 members to the fund’s advisory board at its meeting Tuesday. A final member should be named next week.
The board will review potential projects and make recommendations to the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, which makes final investment decisions.
Celeste Scott, housing and justice organizer for Pittsburgh United, said board members will play an important role in the process.
“The things that they will recommend will be very transparent,” she said. “There are opportunities for the community to come down and do public comment around the projects. So, it will be a very robust community experience.”
Overall, Scott is pleased with the city's progress.
“We’re rolling at a pretty good pace,” she said. “But we know there’s still an urgent situation, and we want this to work as quickly as possible.”
The Housing Opportunity Fund was created in 2016 without a concrete plan for how to fund it. In December 2017, Council voted to approve a .5 percent realty transfer tax increase (with another .5 percent increase scheduled in 2020) to create money for the fund. It's expected to generate $10 million a year.
Officials say the Housing Opportunity Fund could make its first investments within the next two months. Projects could include the construction of new homes, rehabilitation of existing homes, and rental subsidies.
The newly appointed advisory board members include:
- Lena Andrews
- Jamil Bey
- Richard Butler
- Kyle Chintalapalli
- Joanna Deming
- Jerome Jackson
- Majestic Lane
- Mark Masterson
- Valerie McDonald Roberts
- Theresa Kail-Smith
- Leslie Springs
- Sonya Tilghman
- Derrick Tillman
- Carlos Torres
- Diamonte Walker
- Adrienne Walnoha
City Council is expected to approve Sam Su at its meeting next Tuesday, according to a spokesperson from the mayor's office.