Peduto administration reasserts commitments to affordable housing
December 18, 2018
The Peduto Administration issued a statement last week saying it was committed to working with all interested parties to support affordable housing in the city, as well as to boost neighborhood development by helping community groups to grow.
Budget proposals for the Urban Redevelopment Authority do not undercut equitable development and affordable housing as some have erroneously claimed.
The 2019 budget includes a new commitment of $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars to affordable housing in the Bedford Dwellings/Hill District Choice Neighborhood program. An additional $1.5 million is going to the Larimer Choice Neighborhoods initiative.
That spending is going up while federal support is going down: federal HOME dollars are being reduced by $800,000 next year, from $2.3 million last year to $1.5 million in 2019.
For the first time in the city’s history, no CDBG monies are being used for street paving, due to Mayor Peduto’s pledge not to apportion monies that can otherwise be used for equitable development initiatives. Instead, $19 million budgeted for paving in 2019 is coming from bond dollars, which cannot legally be used for the URA.
The statement said the administration is willing to work with City Council and other partners on budget solutions and changes, and is in the process of doing so on affordable housing and other matters.
“Misinformation about the city’s ordinance on Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) has been rampant in social media and elsewhere. RCOs are commonly supported by Planning Departments in cities including Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and San Diego, and in Pittsburgh will help level the playing field for all community groups seeking to help their neighborhoods,” the statement explained.
According to the administration, despite erroneous claims to the contrary the RCO legislation:
• Supports such groups by requiring for the first time that developers meet with community organizations
• Was the subject – prior to its drafting – of input from focus groups citywide throughout 2016-2017, with the help of PCRG and Neighborhood Allies
• Includes technical assistance for RCOs through a contract with Bayer Center for Non-profit Management, which will help community groups with websites and their governance documents
• Allows for multiple RCOs in the same geographical area
• Requires all RCOs to be registered nonprofits, have bylaws, hold meetings in ADA-accessible locations, have transparent board selection processes, have websites and adopt non-discrimination policies
“The city, and the RCO legislation, support neighborhood groups and the work they do on behalf of residents and their communities, and gives them the resources to do their work even better. This effort empowers community groups and legislates the community’s voice into city law,” it concluded.