Rendering of Flats on Forward. Courtesy of ACTION-Housing

Efforts to create more housing for low-income residents in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County just got a boost. ACTION-Housing was recently awarded a $2.2 million federal Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grant (CDFI), which is expected to pay for about 250 units of affordable housing.

The grant is funded through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Capital Magnet Fund, which makes awards to nonprofit housing organizations.

“We are thrilled to receive a grant from the Capital Magnet Fund. This grant will allow ACTION-Housing to expand our capacity in creating more affordable units, while also highlighting some of the innovative affordable housing work happening in Pittsburgh on a national stage,” says Lena Andrews, director of real estate development for ACTION-Housing.

Two projects expected to benefit from the grant are a planned $7 million renovation of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in East Liberty and the Flats on Forward new construction project in Squirrel Hill.

Flats on Forward will include ground-level retail and three floors of affordable housing, with two floors of office space. It will be located on a vacant lot and the long-shuttered Squirrel Hill Theater.

The $7 million seminary renovation project is expected to provide 54 single-occupancy units, some of which will be set aside for people at risk of being homeless, according to ACTION-Housing officials.

Congressman Mike Doyle, who announced the grant award, said it will have a significant impact on low-income residents.

“As someone who has spent his entire career working to enact federal policies to help revitalize distressed urban areas, I have been a strong supporter of CDFI grants and other important investments in our city,” Doyle said in a statement. “This funding will enable ACTION-Housing to develop more affordable housing and community facilities in low-income neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.”

This is the first time ACTION-Housing has received a CDFI grant after applying for it three times over a four-year period, Andrews says.

The U.S. Treasury Department awarded 38 organizations more than $130 million; ACTION-Housing is one of 15 nonprofit developers from across the country selected to receive these funds.

Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis is an award-winning television producer, journalist, and media specialist. He has worked locally with Mullen Advertising, WQED, The August Wilson African American Cultural Center and the Kelly...