FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh sheds light on the benefits of effectively utilizing Land Banks to curb blight and dilapidation throughout Allegheny County
PITTSBURGH, June 1, 2023 – Habitat Pittsburgh commissioned the Regional Land Bank Comparative Analysis report to offer ideas, concepts and practical ways to better utilize Land Banks as a tool to increase homeownership. The report identifies several foundational recommendations that can be useful for Land Banks to use, which Habitat Affiliates around the Country have been using as a way to help revitalize communities throughout the United States. Blight and dilapidation are an overwhelming deterrent to the stabilization of neighborhoods. Land Banks can be a key determinant in helping to curb blight and the negative effects blight has on Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Dr. Howard B. Slaughter, Jr., President & CEO of Habitat Pittsburgh said, “Increasing homeownership is an intentional way to help eliminate blight and revitalize neighborhoods, a key driver in community stabilization. Long term blight, if not eradicated, can become an existential threat to neighborhood revitalization. Habitat Pittsburgh can work with Land Banks to increase homeownership, as we continue to provide quality affordable housing to marginalized families. We do this by offering low down payments, flexible underwriting and a 30-year zero percent fixed rate mortgage. Homeownership continues to be the way most Americans gain their wealth, and the benefits of homeownership are more valued today than ever before and is often the largest asset most Americans own.”
State Senator Wayne Fontana and Habitat Pittsburgh Board Member said, “The collapse of the steel industry in the late 1970's and early 80's led to a mass exodus of people from Pittsburgh and the surrounding regions. As a result, a lot of blight started to move in as towns struggled to survive. When one examines the cities that were able to overcome something of this nature and renew themselves, often times land banks are involved. This is because land banks revitalize neighborhoods by transitioning blighted properties to beneficial reuses like single family homes, stabilization of standing structures supporting neighborhood commercial districts, and transforming vacant land into uses for community needs. Sustainable tax revenue usually follows soon after resulting in a win-win for all.”
Winnie Branton, Esq., Principal of Branton Strategies LLC and Habitat Pittsburgh consultant said, “Land banks are working in Pennsylvania and throughout the Country. This report presents narratives from four land banks that are fully operational and working successfully. Two of the land banks are located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, one in Philadelphia and the other Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, Ohio. These land banks are employing creative strategies and best practices to repurpose vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties for affordable, high-quality homes, gardens and green space, and new and expanded businesses who are offering local jobs.”
About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh is a nonprofit that provides affordable homeownership and home repair opportunities to limited-income families in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Our mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope in Allegheny County. Our vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to call home. We are an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a global nonprofit founded in 1976 that serves over 1,200 communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.habitatpittsburgh.org.