LAWRENCEVILLE (KDKA) — Working-class Lawrenceville has become a haven for transplanted young hipsters and homes there used to sell for $100,000 or less, that is no more.
“We’ve seen home sale prices over $700,000,” said David Bringan of Lawrenceville United. “There are currently homes on the market in Lawrenceville for over a million dollars.”
Old homes are being flipped for big bucks and old industrial sites are being transformed into upscale apartments that a prospective resident will pay upward of $1,000 per month for just a one-bedroom. That’s not to mention upwards of $3,000 for a two-bedroom.
“Folks of more modest incomes are finding it really hard to remain in the neighborhood,” Bringan said. “So we’re seeing this big housing boom but people are struggling to find housing opportunities of lower-income.”
The neighborhood advocacy group, Lawrenceville United, worked with the city to develop a pilot program requiring developers to provide affordable places to live alongside the upscale properties.
“Ten-percent of residential projects, over 20 units in scale, would have to be for folks of more modest means,” Bringan said.
Renters that would qualify would have to make less than 50% of the area’s median income, for a family of four that means about $40,000 per year. For those wanting to buy a home they’ll have to earn less than 80% of the median.
“This has been done in 900 other municipalities across the country,” Bringan said. “It’s a very tried and true policy for making sure as communities grow, they’re doing it for everybody.”
This new affordable housing zone is merely a pilot project for Lawrenceville only, but it’s the hope of many that if it goes well it could extend to the entire city.