Cinnaire Lending, UPMC for You, The Heinz Endowments, and Henry L. Hillman Foundation Partner to Preserve 1,200 Affordable Housing Units
PITTSBURGH, PA – In response to rising homebuying and rental costs in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, two major Pittsburgh Foundations—Henry L. Hillman Foundation and The Heinz Endowments—have partnered with UPMC for You, a Medicaid managed care plan, to create a new private loan fund to help mission-minded developers acquire existing multifamily housing units and retain them as affordable units for neighborhood residents.
Working with Cinnaire Lending, the Preserve Affordability Pittsburgh (PAP) loan pool seeks to preserve 1,200 units of affordable housing in Pittsburgh neighborhoods throughout the next decade by lending capital to developers focused on creating or retaining affordable properties.
The initial PAP loan pool is $11 million with specific loan amounts dependent on individual developer proposals. The program is the result of nearly two years of planning and will offer loans to developers who include affordable housing in proposed projects at less cost than developers would encounter if pursuing loans through traditional lending paths.
By the end of 2018, the U.S. had an estimated shortage of 3.8 million housing units with a shortage of 27,000 units in Pittsburgh alone. Households spending an outsized share of income on housing spend less on other basic needs including healthcare and experience worse health.
“Our priority is to foster greater equity by stabilizing housing for residents of Allegheny County who are rent burdened and housing insecure, which will lead to better health outcomes for everyone in our community,” said John Lovelace, president of UPMC for You, the largest Medical Assistance plan in Western Pennsylvania.
The PAP loan pool will center on mixed-use residential buildings with a minimum of 20 affordable housing units, as well as family and senior housing with a minimum of 20 affordable units that are in close proximity to schools, grocery stores and mass transportation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as that for which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing costs, including utilities.
With the rise in inflation and construction costs in the United States, preserving and/or renovating existing multifamily affordable housing is often more cost-effective for affordability-minded developers than building new housing units. However, the Pittsburgh metro area’s competitive real estate market often makes acquiring these units financially unfeasible. Potential buyers or renters from within the community are often priced out of the market rate for “flipped” properties, which can result in eviction or displacement.
“Many underserved Pittsburgh communities have endured generations of discrimination and disinvestment,” Cinnaire CEO Mark McDaniel said. “Delivering vital funding to support the development of much-needed safe, affordable housing in these communities is a critical step in addressing this inequity. We are honored to partner with The Heinz Endowments, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and UPMC for You in this fund to foster healthy communities in the Pittsburgh and greater Allegheny County.”
Cinnaire, based in Lansing, Michigan has been supporting affordable housing development and homeownership in disinvested communities throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic for 30 years. The organization recently launched a single-family lease purchase pilot program in Detroit to help low-income families achieve and sustain homeownership. The goal of the program is to support 188 families living in single family homes developed through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program achieve affordable homeownership over the next 8 years.
“Our extensive conversations with individuals and community organizations made clear that safe, affordable places to live were key to ensuring the health, well-being and economic security of our region’s families,” said Rob Stephany, senior program director of Community & Economic Development for the Endowments. “As real estate markets across the county continue to improve, we have to stave off displacement of residents who live here, especially those in neighborhoods that have experienced decades of disinvestment and are now poised to help the county grow once again. We believe Pittsburgh Affordability Partnership has the potential to help revive neighborhoods while also ensuring that their future includes affordable housing.”
Neighborhood Allies, a Pittsburgh-based community organization, will serve as Agent for the Preserve Affordability Pittsburgh revolving loan pool. They will work with community members to assess affordability needs in their neighborhoods and connect resources and developers to projects that address those needs. While the loan pool is open to projects throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, the PAP will initially support work in neighborhoods that have experienced historical disinvestment.
Projects are currently being considered and applications encouraged. For more information about participating in Preserve Affordability Pittsburgh loan pool opportunities, contact Matt Madia at (412) 779-9498 or email@example.com or email Cinnaire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Preserve Affordability Pittsburgh loan pool is timelier than ever as our region continues to see rising home costs, evictions, and rates of homelessness throughout Allegheny County,” said Lauri K. Fink, senior program officer at the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. “These are huge, complex regional challenges that impact our collective health and wellbeing. The PAP is one way to make sure that affordable housing in a community stays affordable for the people who live there.”