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An eviction in Polish Hill shows affordable-housing issues go beyond Pittsburgh neighborhoods like East Liberty and Lawrenceville

“Polish Hill has mostly been off the Pittsburgh-housing-boom radar. But housing prices there have skyrocketed, and rents have steadily risen over the past few years. Also, private developers are taking notice, and residential construction projects are becoming a common sight in the neighborhood, increasing the anxieties of community groups who are waiting for Pittsburgh City Council to devote more resources to affordable housing. All of this is making many Polish Hill residents increasingly concerned that the neighborhood’s close-knit character will slip from their grasp, carried away by the interests of property-owners keen on making profits. . . .

With Miller’s help, PHCA has been trying to get affordable-housing protections for Polish Hill to proactively address what she says is an impending housing boom. Statistics compiled by Miller show average home-sale prices have increased by more than 700 percent since 2010. Granted, prices in 2010 were very low (averaging $22,000), but Miller says this is still a cause for alarm, and points to a June 2016 home sale of $389,000 as proof. . . .

But Miller believes the only way to really tackle affordable-housing issues in Polish Hill is through public policy.

In May 2016, Pittsburgh’s Affordable Housing Task Force submitted a list of recommendations to City Council, which is still deciding which to pursue. The recommendation with the most backing is the creation of the $10 million Housing Opportunity Fund.”

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