Formerly Vacant Properties Used for Affordable Housing

17 Jul

In recent months, affordable housing policy has been in both the national and local news. PCRG members and partners advocate for legislation and programs to support affordable housing, but they are also actively involved in affordable housing production. PCRG supports our members’ involvement both through research and advocacy, as well as through programs. These programs include the Vacant Property Working Group, the CARL program, and our Real Estate-Owned (REO) Purchase and Resale program.

For the REO Purchase and Resale program, PCRG staff monitor REO properties available in Pittsburgh through a variety of methods, and facilitate the sale of those properties to members and partners.  Two of our partners recently closed on properties, acquired from Wells Fargo and the the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST). Since properties are available at a significant discount in both of these programs, it helps organizations afford to sell or rent them as affordable housing.

PCRG monitors the Wells Fargo Discount and Donation Program, a way for Wells Fargo to connect community groups with REO properties in their geographic area. PCRG was notified about a property available in the Perry Hilltop neighborhood of Pittsburgh. PCRG contacted Perry Hilltop Citizens Council, who determined that it would fit with their strategy to have the house sold to a local affordable housing renovation and rental company, Oakglade Realty. When purchasing the house, Oakglade Realty signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PHCC to ensure long-term affordability.

 Perry Hilltop house after renovation


After completing interior and exterior renovations, the home is now renovated and available to rent to tenants with Section 8 vouchers or another similar voucher program. Located on a street close to the Pittsburgh Project, an Oakglade Realty office building, and several houses occupied by PULSE Fellows, the formerly vacant house will now contribute further to the stability of the neighborhood.

PCRG has been an approved Community Buyer through NCST since May 2016. As a Community Buyer, PCRG is notified of REO properties before they are put for sale on the open market. PCRG’s goal for participating in the program is to make discounted properties available to community groups, by facilitating the transaction, providing training, and providing reporting support. Other regional groups, including the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation and the NCRC Growth Initiative, also participate in the NCST Program.


Earlier this year, a property in Hazelwood became available through the NCST Property Acquisition Program. Hazelwood Initiative is a community development corporation, currently pursuing a strategy of purchasing, rehabbing, and selling houses to provide housing for low to moderate income households. A number of properties have already been renovated and sold through this program. PCRG worked with the financial institution and Hazelwood Initiative to facilitate closing. The house is currently being renovated, and will be sold to a qualifying homeowner.

In addition to our policy and advocacy, PCRG programs and trainings are crucial ways we support member goals and member capacity. Are you a PCRG member or an affordable housing developer who works closely with a PCRG member? Call the PCRG office at 412-391-6732 for more information.