How does Section 8 homeownership assistance factor into Pittsburgh’s shortage of affordable housing?

Lisa Gonzalez (left) sits outside her apartment building on Brownsville Road. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Pittsburgh’s housing authority offers homebuying assistance. Affordable housing advocates want more.

by Varshini Chellapilla, PublicSource

Lisa Gonzalez hopes to upgrade from her third-floor apartment to a house nearby in Carrick. Her unit has a busy street out front, no backyard and little room for her 4-year-old granddaughter to play.

Using a program from Pittsburgh’s housing authority, she’s looking for a house with two or three bedrooms, a nice green space and a front porch.

“I want something that’s going to be mine,” Gonzalez, 52, said. “The money that I’ve been using to pay my rent to landlords? That could have been invested into a mortgage for my home.”

Under its homeownership program, the Housing Authority for the City of Pittsburgh [HACP] offers up to $8,000 in closing cost assistance for eligible low-income homebuyers and an additional 10 years of assistance in the form of a soft second mortgage up to $52,000.

The program has helped 193 households in its 15-year history, and housing authority officials tout it as a success. Local housing advocates, however, say the authority should do more to invest in homeownership and use funding that the authority uses for rental vouchers to get more residents into homes.

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How does Section 8 homeownership assistance factor into Pittsburgh’s shortage of affordable housing?

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