Aug 13, 2019

By: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh | August 13th, 2019 

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced today that Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives (PUI), the City’s Community Development Entity, has partnered with East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI) to bring affordable for-sale housing to the City of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty, Larimer and Garfield communities.

The URA, Dollar Bank, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Neighborhood Allies, and PUI with U.S. Bank as the investor, closed on a $7 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) project with ELDI and Smith NMTC Associates, LLC on July 26, 2019. PUI has been working with ELDI for the past two years to bring this project to fruition. This is the first for-sale residential NMTC investment for PUI. The project will use a mixed-income approach to create affordable homeownership opportunities in these revitalizing neighborhoods.

“The NMTC objective is to bring services and investment to low-income communities. This project creates wealth through homeownership, which not only builds wealth for the immediate new homeowners, but for their families and future generations as they are able to leverage that wealth into other opportunities for their families,” said Rebecca Davidson- Wagner, president of PUI.

This project will facilitate construction of six new homes and the rehabilitation of 20 homes. Of the 26 homes being renovated or constructed, 18 will be sold to families with incomes at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI). All of the low-income homeowners will receive pre- purchase counseling, homebuyer education and support to help make them successful homeowners.

“For Pittsburgh, affordable housing has to be more than a laudable goal. It is development that is best achieved when all forces – public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit alike – work together to deliver and maintain high quality, affordable housing opportunities for Pittsburgh residents,” said Diamonte Walker, URA deputy director. “The innovative use of NMTC, as demonstrated by this partnership, exemplifies how social goals can become an economic reality.”

ELDI, in partnership with Open Hand Ministries and the Circles Greater Pittsburgh program, will prepare families for homeownership and provide income-eligible homebuyers with housing opportunities designed to build generational wealth. The resulting revitalization of these residential areas will restore the home equity for hundreds of low-income homeowners who are already in the community.

The project will also meet the homeownership goals of the community plans for East Liberty, Larimer and Garfield, and advance critical goals of the East Liberty/Larimer HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant – a comprehensive revitalization approach anchored by a $30 million HUD grant.

“This key investment will play an important role in helping to promote what has been the most challenging segment of the housing market, the affordable for-sale home,” said PUI Board member Malik Bankston. “It serves as a perfect complement to other housing development strategies being carried out in Larimer and East Liberty.”

The URA provided $1.5 million in construction financing and will be providing $430,000 in deferred mortgage financing to the low-income buyers to make the homes more affordable. Dollar Bank provided approximately $2.3 million and LISC provided $500,000 through Neighborhood Allies.

PUI hopes to be awarded additional allocation in the next round to continue to invest in neighborhood for-sale housing using this model throughout the City.

About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)

The URA is the City of Pittsburgh’s economic development agency, committed to creating jobs, expanding the City’s tax base, and improving the vitality of businesses and neighborhoods. The URA achieves this mission by assembling, preparing, and conveying sites for major mixed-use developments and by providing a portfolio of programs that include financing for business location, relocation and expansion, housing construction and rehabilitation, and home purchases and improvements. The URA is also committed to equitable development and incorporates best practices for equity and inclusion into its internal and external policies and activities. 

About Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives (PUI)

PUI is an LLC affiliated with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. The initiative was created in order to apply for and facilitate New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) deployment for projects in the city and invest in low-income neighborhoods. PUI strategically invests in office, retail, mixed-use, and community facility developments designed to rehabilitate abandoned and blighted sites to build stronger communities.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA