Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

Ronald Woan / Flickr

After nearly four years of work, the Pittsburgh Land Bank remains a divisive issue.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nowhere in the country can someone work 40 hours a week at a minimum-wage job and afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

On average, a Pennsylvanian earning minimum wage would have to work 83 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental.

There are a lot of misconceptions about low-income earners. Primarily, that they’re not working hard enough, said Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Vacant properties in Pittsburgh are increasingly becoming more abundant, driving property values down and costing tax payers nearly $400,000 a year.   Liz Hersh, Executive Director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania says that although there are 16,000 to 20,000 vacant properties in Pittsburgh, blight in Pennsylvania is not just an urban issue.

“Because we’re an old state, we’ve had a lot of changes in industry, and we’ve had a lot of population loss over the years, and a lack of reinvestment, and a lack of policy to encourage or incentivize reuse of old properties,” Hersh explains.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennslvania

The Marcellus Shale runs under 60 percent of Pennsylvania. But the areas where drilling takes place feel the economic effects more than most. On Thursday, those counties received $8.1 million in state funding to support 44 local projects that address housing availability, community development and rental assistance.

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania has been working to expand the Pennsylvania Housing Trust Fund statewide; the organization will continue that work following the release of a report that shows a person would have to make $15.12 an hour in wages to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rate in Allegheny County.

The problem, according to Alliance Executive Director, Liz Hersh, is that many people don’t make that much money.

Bill Aims to Expand Affordable Housing Statewide

Feb 16, 2015

Following a report last week that affordable housing is getting harder to come by for low and very-low income families, a bill being introduced in Harrisburg would expand a program that improves rental housing in communities.

The Pennsylvania Housing Trust Fund was established in 2010 and first funded in 2012 with Marcellus Shale impact fees. It’s only available in Marcellus areas, but the expansion bill would extend the program statewide, without raising taxes or fees.

With the heavily boarded up community of Homestead as a backdrop, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania released a toolkit to fight blight today.

As the housing market continues to rebound after the 2008 recession, some Pennsylvanian residents are still in need of affordable housing.

Currently in Pennsylvania there is a shortage of about 268,000 affordable housing units, according to Liz Hersh, Executive Director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.