By Rachel Morgan 

PITTSBURGH -- A few local nonprofits are helping veterans help other veterans.

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Many Pittsburgh neighborhoods are experiencing a resurgence in new development. As new homes and businesses take shape, affordability is crucial in some low-income areas, such as Uptown and Hazelwood.

Linda Metropulos is Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development at Action Housing, a non-profit that uses sustainable design to build affordable communities.

According to Metropulos the average person does not understand that we’re experiencing a housing crisis because the issue hasn’t been in the dialogue.

"We’re moving forward with many new housing developments in neighborhoods like East Liberty...but not scaled at a rent level that is affordable to people from moderate to low-income.”  The work of Action Housing is predominantly focused on households with incomes at 60% area median incomes. So for a 1-person household, the median income in Pittsburgh is about $45,000 to $46,000 this year. And so we're building properties that are affordable and set aside for people making 60 percent of that, so about 27 or 28 thousand a year or less."

But many Pittsburgh residents don’t fit this socioeconomic level and find it hard to keep affordable housing, "There are opportunities if you have very low income and opportunities if you have higher income, but it is that median income and above, that middle income household that is really starting to see the squeeze in Pittsburgh."

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Two buildings under construction in Uptown will provide 47 new apartments -- 23 affordable units in one and 24 units for young adults moving out of foster care in the other.

But the $12 million project by Action Housing will provide more than housing.

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We begin this year-end wrap up with the always true, all-purpose caveat to make the bad news bears happy: Many awful things happened in Pittsburgh in 2013, and although we're doing better we still have a looong looong way to go.

OK. That's out of the way. Let's move on.

The Pirates' winning season and playoff bid trumped all good news from this fan's point of view, but 2013 saw big wins for neighborhoods, some that felt neglected for decades.

My top stories happened in the big three H's: Hazelwood, the Hill and Homewood.

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By Tom Fontaine

Published: Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

Hazelwood leaders don't want the neighborhood to find itself on the wrong side of the railroad tracks separating it from the former LTV Steel Co. site along the Monongahela River.

If a $1 billion investment goes as planned, the sprawling brownfield site would become home to offices, housing, retailers and light industry.

As large machines prepare the 178 acres for development, groups such as the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, Hazelwood Initiative and ACTION-Housing Inc. are working to prepare the distressed neighborhood for growth.

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