Crisis Averted?

Continuing with the theme of the last blog entry-that there is not enough low income housing and that its absence might be a crisis-rest assured that local government is ready and able to do its part. City Council is acting on a resolution to permit the URA to apply to the Commonwealth for $4 million in funds from the Housing and Redevelopment Assistance Program.

That money will be matched by other funds "$6,117,051 in Community Development Block Grant, HOME, City bond, Pittsburgh Development Fund and other local funds" according to Council’s resolution. The language of the act goes even further to say that the funds will help to eliminate blight by "addressing the housing assistance needs of low and moderate income residents through the substantial rehabilitation and new construction of housing".

Sure it’s a small piece of the puzzle and it is just in Pittsburgh-the Housing Alliance, the group that raised the issue of the crisis, noted that it felt the crisis went a lot further than just the City-but the state has been no slouch in trying to give out assistance under the program. DCED notes that some $33 million was spent in FY08-09 and $20 million in FY09-10.

So what is the better approach: to try and spend money targeted at providing low- and moderate-income housing or remove the impediments that might be preventing its construction?