Nearly seven months after Pittsburgh City Council voted to create a fund for affordable housing and neighborhood rehabilitation, it’s still not clear where the money will come from.
Two bills before Council center on one option: an increase to the realty transfer tax. The additional revenue generated by the tax, approximately $10 million, would offset a proposed $100 million bond to be issued by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, or URA.
Discussion at a post-agenda meeting and public hearing on Tuesday revealed Council members, real estate agents, affordable housing advocates and the public at large aren’t completely sold on proposal. The current realty transfer tax stands at 4 percent, the highest in Allegheny County and much of the nation. While the funding mechanism created dissent, most supported the need to find a sustainable funding stream to support affordable housing and neighborhood redevelopment initiatives; nearly 20,000 units are needed to meet the city’s housing shortage.