Proposed Blight Solution: Shift Subsidies from Rent to Ownership

Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto thinks Section 8 housing subsidies could get two birds with one stone: help low-income households find affordable housing and reduce blight.

1 minute read

January 12, 2016, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Chris Potter reports on a new proposal by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to use Section 8 funds to subsidize home ownership. The "Bridges Beyond Blight" program would take "the anticipated value of 30 years’ worth of one household’s vouchers to purchase and renovate a home." Normally the money provided by those vouchers would help subsidize rental housing for low-income households.

Under the Bridges Beyond Blight program, "[p]ublic housing officials would select the homes and finance the work, then set up buyers with a mortgage whose payments would also be set at 30 percent of their income," according to Potter. Mayor Peduto hopes that redirecting that funding from rental subsidies to ownership subsidies would achieve an extra goal beyond helping low-income households find affordable housing—it would also reduce blight by getting people into vacant homes.

The article includes more information about the political support the policy might find, both from local organizations and the federal government.

Saturday, January 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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