Office of Mayor William Peduto
Mayor William Peduto Appoints Members of Land Bank Board and Affordable Housing Task Force

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 4, 2015) Moving to address interrelated housing and vacant and abandoned property issues facing neighborhoods citywide, Mayor William Peduto today named the full membership of Pittsburgh’s Land Bank Board and its Affordable Housing Task Force.

“The Land Bank and the Affordable Housing Task Force are both building blocks essential to the comprehensive planning for our city, and will work on parallel tracks to help strengthen all Pittsburgh communities,” Mayor Peduto said. “Some of our neighbors are struggling to secure housing, while others are seeing their communities lag behind due to unsafe nuisance properties. These groups will work in tandem to address the interlocking issues.”

The Affordable Housing Task Force was adopted in February to evaluate programs and initiatives to produce affordable units and preserve existing ones; make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council to create new programs and initiatives to promote mixed-income development in neighborhoods across the city; and ensure a vibrant mix of housing options for people of all income levels.

It will be co-chaired by Planning Director Ray Gastil and by City Councilman Daniel Lavelle. Other members include: City Councilman Dan Gilman; Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin; Chief Urban Affairs Officer Valerie McDonald Roberts; Planning Commission member Fred Brown; Tom Cummings, Urban Redevelopment Authority; David Weber, Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh; Bob Hurley, Allegheny County Economic Development; State Rep. Ed Gainey; State Sen. Jay Costa; Carla Falkenstein, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle; Linda Metropulos, ACTION-Housing; Bill Gatti, TREK Development; Sam Williamson, SEIU 32BJ; Bill Brooks, Laborers Local 373; Richard Butler, West End Alliance; Mark Masterson, North Side Development Fund; Tamara Dudukovich, Dollar Bank; Barney Oursler, Pittsburgh United; Bethany Davidson, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group; and Liz Hersh, Housing Alliance of Pa.

Once it begins meeting the task force will ultimately develop a suite of affordable housing policies and initiatives for city agencies, community organizations, developers and others to consider in neighborhoods around the city, according to their specific needs.

The task force will also consider appointments to a community advisory committee to assure that the work of the task force is aligned with neighborhood efforts underway relating to housing affordability.

Meanwhile, the Land Bank board will do separate but related work to address vacant and abandoned properties also impacting city neighborhoods, and as such share some members with the task force. The Land Bank will work to acquire and clear title to abandoned and encumbered properties; redevelop some properties into market-rate and affordable units; turn others into greenspace; and work with the URA and other agencies to hold onto properties for future uses.

An ordinance creating the Pittsburgh Land Bank was adopted last April to address city property abandonment and tax delinquency problems, and act as a single entity to acquire, hold, and dispose of vacant properties. Six of the land bank’s nine members were approved last November and an additional three were announced by Mayor Peduto today.

In November the following six board members were named: City Councilman Ricky Burgess; City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith; City Councilman Daniel Lavelle; State Sen. Wayne Fontana; Finance Director Paul Leger; and Karen Abrams of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Today the Mayor named the three final members: Bill Gatti of TREK Development; Mark Masterson of the North Side Development Fund; and Steve Mazza of the Regional Council of Carpenters.

An interim Land Bank board has been meeting, and the body’s incorporation has been approved by the state. Now that final appointments have been made the board will work to secure start-up funding, develop a budget and write a multi-year plan for acquiring and maintaining surplus properties.

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