Council proposal would target city-owned vacant homes

By: Adam Smeltz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Published: May 9, 2017

Pittsburgh may set aside $2 million next year to spruce up 25 to 30 dilapidated homes owned by the city.

A City Council bill introduced Tuesday would foster the move, meant to help undermine blight, return the properties to the tax base and encourage affordable housing. The city has yet to determine which vacant homes it would target for renovation and reuse.

A selection process would involve input from community groups, said Councilman Corey O’Connor, who brought up the proposal. The city owns probably more than 11,000 residential parcels, although it isn’t immediately clear how many include houses that are worth rehabilitating, he said.

“They’re usually the ones in the neighborhood we get the most complaints about, whether it’s high grass [or] there’s animals living in these houses now. And they’re usually owned by us,” Mr. O’Connor said of rundown homes. “This is now going to be a way to invest in our properties, get them back on the tax rolls.”

His legislation would rely on $2 million from a $30 million capital bond issuance set for 2018. Under the plan, the city would issue a request for proposals — likely next year — to remake the homes for income-eligible residents.

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