The Community Choice Demonstration helps families with Housing Choice Vouchers find homes in Opportunity Areas in the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County region. These Pittsburgh-Allegheny County neighborhoods have historically been difficult for families with vouchers to move into, either because they are outside of families’ price ranges, or because property owners are not very familiar with the voucher program. Many families with vouchers want to move into Opportunity Areas because they offer high-quality schools and other public amenities.
The main enrollment qualifications for participation in the Community Choice Demonstration include (but are not limited to):
- Have at least one (1) child aged 17 or under that they consent to have participate in the study
- Have a voucher from the Allegheny County Housing Authority (ACHA) or Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP).
- A number of families from the Allegheny County Housing Authority (ACHA) or Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP)’s current Housing Choice Voucher waitlist are also being invited to participate in the Demonstration.
Benefits to Participating Families
To assist families in moving to Opportunity Areas, selected families that qualify for and enroll in the Community Choice Demonstration will receive comprehensive services that include pre- and post-move coaching, housing search assistance and financial assistance to help cover the security deposit and some other move-related expenses if they move to an Opportunity Area. As discussed in more detail below, families that enroll in the Demonstration will be selected at random to either receive these services or to receive the standard services available to all Housing Choice Voucher holders. To learn more about the services offered to select families participating in the Demonstration, please visit the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Choice Demonstration website.
Benefits to Property Owners
ACHA and HACP have also taken steps to ensure the rental-ceiling standard for homes in Opportunity Areas is affordable for families and competitive for the property owners in the private rental market. Owners who rent to select Demonstration families receive financial incentives, including a lease-up bonus. Program staff works with families and property owners to facilitate good tenant-owner matches and positive relationships between them. To learn more about the Demonstration’s benefits offered to property owners, please visit the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Choice Demonstration website.
The Community Choice Demonstration Enrollment Coordinator will contact HCV participant families who are eligible to enroll generally six (6) months prior to their lease anniversary date. For applicants, the Community Choice Enrollment Coordinator will contact eligible HCV applicant families at the time of application processing. A few additional details:
- Participation in the Demonstration and study is completely voluntary. To have a chance of being offered services under the Demonstration, a family must agree to participate in the study.
- If a family chooses to participate, the family will be assigned to one of two groups. A computer will randomly determine this assignment. One group will be offered services that will assist them in searching for and moving to housing in designated Opportunity Areas. The second group will be offered the usual services from the Allegheny County Housing Authority (ACHA) or Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) without any additional services.
Participating Families Selected to Receive Services
If you are selected to receive services in the Community Choice Demonstration, please visit the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Choice Demonstration website to learn more about your role in the Demonstration, to access Demonstration-related tools, or contact your Housing Coach.
Community Choice Demonstration FAQs & More Demonstration Information
Click YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Choice Demonstration website to view the Community Choice Demonstration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Community Choice Demonstration is a part of a national demonstration funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Community Choice Demonstration site includes staff from ACHA, HACP, the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. The demonstration studies the effect of additional services on families’ ability to move into Opportunity Areas. Families interested in receiving services must sign up for the study and will be randomly selected to receive services. For more information about the national demonstration, go here.