HfA Talking Points and Tips for the Housing Opportunity Fund hearing

Homes for All Pgh Talking Points for

Housing Opportunity Fund Legislation Public Hearing

  • We support the legislation to create a fund for affordable housing in this city.
  • We want to emphasize the parts of the legislation that must be preserved:
    • We need community control. Those of us who are most affected should help make the decisions about how the opportunity fund money is spent.
      • Keep the requirement that a neighborhood based non-profit, which adequately represents the residents, is the applicant for the funds.
      • Keep the requirement that the governing board can only approve projects considered and recommended for approval by the advisory board, which reflects members of the community and is directly accountable to the public.
    • There should be adequate support for housing for the most vulnerable in our city, including very low income residents.
      • at least 50% of the funds are for residents who make 30% of the area median income
      • at least 25% of the funds are for residents who make 50% of the area median income
      • the remaining 25% can support those who make 30%, 50%, and 80% of the area median income
  • We are asking for this amendment to the legislation:
    • The projects that are funded must meet tenant protection standards, including just cause eviction. The URA already requires tenant protections on projects funded with federal HOME funds.
  • The URA administration fee should be dedicated to ensuring the fund is administered equitably and to the benefit of the community. 1/3 of the fee should go toward health and safety inspections.
  • Additional points:
    • We need quality homes for everyone: I should feel safe in my home, and there should be no health and safety violations.
    • Every new development in our city must include housing we can afford.
    • We need support for us to own our homes.
    • We need support for tenant councils to own and manage properties. We live here, we need good jobs, and we can manage our homes!
    • We should not be evicted without just cause. We shouldn’t be kicked out of our homes just because our landlords think they can make more profit.
    • If our housing is being demolished, we should be given housing in the neighborhood.
    • If I have a section 8 voucher, I should not be discriminated against.
    • We should be able to live near good transit service.
    • We need accessible housing for residents of all abilities.

 

More info about the fund and what to share:

Tips

  • Tell your personal story about housing. (Are you looking for a home? Can you afford a home? Are you struggling to stay in your neighborhood? What does your neighborhood need – new units, preservation, rentals? Etc.)
  • Don’t forget to share what neighborhood you live in.
  • Talk about why a Housing Opportunity Fund matters to you! There are talking points below to help out.

Why do we need affordable housing?

  • Every person in our city deserves a place to call home.
  • Growth and new development are increasing housing costs for homeowners and renters.
  • Our city is facing a housing crisis with a shortage of nearly 20,000 affordable rental units.
  • The lack of safe, affordable, quality housing stock makes it hard to re-house people who face a housing crisis.

Why do we need a Housing Opportunity Fund? 

  • Establishing a Housing Opportunity Trust Fund will provide dedicated funding to help stabilize and improve Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.
  • To address our housing crisis we need tools like a Housing Opportunity Fund that can help fill the funding gap for creating, rehabilitating, and preserving affordable housing.
  • The Housing Opportunity Fund is a proven model that can help the most vulnerable residents in our City.
  • A Housing Opportunity Fund will help seniors, working class people and families, people with disabilities, and veterans stay in the neighborhoods they’ve always called home.
  • For the people who will have a home as a result of the fund it will fundamentally and permanently change their lives and allow them to afford to live and participate in the “New Pittsburgh.”

What do we want to make sure is included in the Housing Opportunity Fund? 

  • Income Targets  – ensure that funding goes to help the residents who are most in need – seniors, working people, young families, people with disabilities, and veterans.
  • Sustainable Sources of Funding – Over 10 years, $10 million dollars/year could address roughly ⅓ of the shortage in needed units.
  • Community Control – As a community, we must come together to ensure that this funding is responsive to the needs of the community, is distributed equitably, and that longtime residents can stay in the neighborhoods they’ve always called home.