Skyline Terrace, a mixed-income housing complex, developed by the Housing Authority for the City of Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Pittsburgh’s housing authority is spending millions in Section 8 voucher funds to build affordable housing

Since 2011, the Pittsburgh housing authority has spent $58 million from its Section 8 housing voucher program on the construction of mixed-income housing developments. Those developments — such as Garfield Commons, Skyline Terrace in the Hill District and Cornerstone Village in Larimer — include market-rate and affordable units and are part of the authority’s long-term strategy to revitalize neighborhoods and stem the loss of affordable housing. But is construction coming at the expense of the agency’s hobbled Section 8 voucher program? As of Oct. 31, 8,684 families were waiting for housing vouchers.

Who is ‘the community?’ Penn Plaza group challenges early stages of East Liberty URA project

The Urban Redevelopment Authority [URA] presented three potential designs Thursday night for an East Liberty development meant in part to bring some former residents of the demolished Penn Plaza back to their neighborhood. But some attendees raised pointed questions about the community input process, which they felt excluded them. “The problem is ‘the community’ is the Village Collaborative,” said Celeste Scott, housing organizer at Pittsburgh United, referring to a community group that has had early involvement in the URA’s vetting process. “That is the problem that they’re not giving an answer to.”

A group of former Penn Plaza residents and community activists questioned why the URA had chosen Village Collaborative, a community group unveiled last year by the HELP Initiative. The collaborative is made up of faith leaders in the East End.