City of Bridges Community Land Trust been awarded $750,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s (FHLB) Affordable Housing Program (AHP) for the construction of four new, permanently affordable, owner-occupied homes in Polish Hill. These four units are part of a total of eight new homes that will be built at the key neighborhood intersection of Dobson and Brereton Streets. CBCLT partnered with First Commonwealth Bank on this successful funding application.
Since 2015, the median sales price of homes in Polish Hill has more than tripled and now stands at almost $240,000; a price entirely out of reach for most residents. After more than a decade of organizing, the community of Polish Hill coalesced around the idea of permanently affordable home-ownership at this critical location.
“I’d like to congratulate CBCLT and PHCA for receiving this great honor and thank them for their work on this project,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Not only are they creating a legacy of affordable housing for the Polish Hill neighborhood, but working with us and our partners at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), they are exemplifying a standard of how community, nonprofit and government agency partners can collaborate to help realize the vision of a neighborhood.”
First Commonwealth Bank, CBCLT’s lending partner on this project, was quick to recognize the value of this project to the Polish Hill community. Evan Zuverink, Vice President & Community Reinvestment Act Officer at First Commonwealth Bank added “We’re incredibly proud to partner with City of Bridges Community Land Trust on the very critical work of creating permanently affordable housing throughout Pittsburgh. City of Bridges’ model ensures Pittsburghers of all incomes can continue to reside in the neighborhoods they call home.”
Many of the previous structures at this site were destroyed by arson in 2007. Since that time the Polish Hill community has been working to see this site rebuilt with a community-serving development. Polish Hill Civic Association (PHCA) Board President, Lizzie Anderson, said, “We’re thrilled! Today, when so many folks are facing such hard times, we welcome this major step towards the PHCA’s goal of maintaining affordability in a neighborhood with a long history of being a place where families of any income level could find a home. As the saying goes, ‘Success has many mothers,’ and this is the culmination of over a decade of advocacy from numerous community volunteers, as well as the vital support of and partnership with the people at the URA, PHDC, and City of Bridges CLT.”
This project was able to secure FHLB funds in part due to the donation of the land by the PHDC, a nonprofit subsidiary of the URA, with assistance from the City of Pittsburgh. URA Deputy Executive Director, Diamonte Walker offered her congratulations to CBCLT saying “I want to congratulate City of Bridges on this exciting and well-deserved funding award. I’d also like to thank Rich Snipe, PHDC deputy executive director, and his team for their role in helping to make this grant a reality and commend them on the outstanding work they are doing throughout the city to make homeownership accessible to more Pittsburghers.”
As an organization that is not yet two years old, this is the first AHP award that CBCLT has received. “This funding is the final piece of the puzzle to unlocking this key development for Polish Hill,” CBCLT Executive Director Ed Nusser said. “The neighborhood has worked for a community-centered development at this site for more than a decade and we are proud to help activate their vision. The donation of this land by the PHDC and URA was critical to this funding support and CBCLT looks forward to our continued partnership with the URA and Mayor Peduto as we work to create 100 permanently affordable homes in our first 5 years of operations.”