July 26, 2023
The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh’s (HACP) and the City of Pittsburgh are proud to announce that it has been approved to receive a $50 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Grant, provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The announcement sets the stage for the complete redevelopment and revitalization of the Bedford Dwellings housing community.
The approval of the CNI funding marks a significant step toward the transformation of Bedford Dwellings – the oldest occupied public housing community in Pennsylvania. Bedford Dwellings, situated in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, holds the distinction of being the oldest public housing site in the City of Pittsburgh, comprising 411 units. The community was one of seven New Deal Era public housing communities built in Pittsburgh between 1939 and 1944.
“We are extremely happy for the residents of Bedford Dwellings. They have been patient and engaged throughout the planning process and we’re at this point due to their persistent efforts. Additionally, there are a host of partner organizations that have dedicated significant resources toward preparing for this moment,” said Caster Binion, HACP Executive Director. “The time is now for Bedford Dwellings and the Greater Hill District community. This effort is going to produce generational change, serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.”
HUD’s Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) plays a vital role in community transformation by revitalizing distressed public and assisted housing while also igniting essential improvements. Their primary objective is to facilitate the creation of favorable conditions that attract public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods by concentrating on the core focal points of: Housing, Neighborhood and People.
This involves providing assets and amenities that residents desire, including spaces for youth activities after school, versatile indoor and outdoor areas for gatherings and special events, as well as the integration of small play and seating areas throughout the site. The overall aim is to enhance the overall quality of life for the residents and make these neighborhoods more vibrant and attractive places to live.
The HACP sought a FY2022 Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant from HUD. This grant will serve as crucial assistance for the initiation of the redevelopment and enhancement process for Bedford Dwellings. The entire investment for the transformation of Bedford Dwellings will amount to more than $400 million over the next seven years, and it is anticipated to be fully completed by the year 2030. Additionally, the project is anticipated to generate more than 200 new employment opportunities, with the bulk of the jobs expected to be filled by residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.
The CNI Grant requires one-for-one replacement of housing in order to avoid any potential displacement of existing residents. HACP’s plan for Bedford Dwellings, however, calls for a substantial increase in affordable units. In all, the total redevelopment initiative will produce over 800 units of new housing in the next seven years, consisting of: 411 replacement units (Project Based Voucher, affordable housing), 210 additional affordable housing units, and 202 market rate units for a grand total of 823 housing units.
Critical to HACP’s redevelopment plan is our new relocation strategy, known as “build first and move once.” Under this plan, residents will have several options, including choosing a replacement unit in the Choice Neighborhood, receiving a tenant protection voucher, relocating to another low income housing community, and, where applicable, exploring homeownership opportunities. To ensure residents are well-informed, HACP will conduct meetings and consultations with them, as well as issue notices to clarify their rights throughout the process.
Other critical community improvements encompass various aspects to uplift the neighborhood. Street level activation involves initiatives to make public spaces more accessible, vibrant and engaging, encouraging pedestrian activity. Homeownership assistance, including acquisition and rehabilitation, supports residents in becoming homeowners, thereby promoting stability and investment in the community. These measures combine to create a positive and thriving environment, fostering a sustainable and inclusive community for its residents.
Residents of the impacted area will be provided with robust, onsite supportive services as part of the “People” pillar of the CNI Program. This component of the Bedford Dwellings/ Hill District CNI Program will be led by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services with support from Macedonia Face, the Community Enrichment Center and the Neighborhood Resilience Project. This will ensure that residents are provided with supportive services for the duration of the initiative.
The transformation of Bedford Dwellings under the CNI grant involves a significant number of partnerships, each contributing to the success of the project. These key partners include:
- Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) – Lead Grantee
- City of Pittsburgh – Co-Grantee
- Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)
- Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Allies & Ross Management and Development Corporation (ARMDC)
- Midpoint Group of Companies
- Trek Development Group
- Hill District Community Development Corporation
- Hill District Consensus Group
For additional information, please contact Michelle Sandige, HACP Chief Community Affairs Officer at email@example.com.