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Naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) — a property that has not been deed restricted with respect to the rent or income limits of its tenants but simply offers affordable rents (defined as rent that is no more than 30% of a household’s annual income for households at or below the applicable area median income (AMI) level) to individuals or families of low income — is frequently lost, particularly in gentrifying neighborhoods, by sale to a party looking to take advantage of the rising property values and opportunity to charge higher rents. 

In response to this situation, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) has created the Housing Preservation Program (HPP) to encourage the preservation of NOAH housing by providing access to quick capital, which is often difficult for nonprofits or those generally looking to operate affordable housing to obtain when a NOAH property becomes available for sale. The goal of HPP loans is to invest in NOAH in the City of Pittsburgh that is at risk of becoming market rate as well as address other situations that threaten the availability of affordable housing.

Loan Amount

The HPP loan amount is determined by the number of affordable units.  Up to $50,000 per unit with a maximum loan amount of $1,500,000 per project may be loaned.  The loan is expected to mature in 20 to 40 years and not before senior debt on the participating property.

Eligible Properties

Eligible properties include those with at least five (5) total units (including scattered sites acquired concurrently if reasonably included as one development with a single construction scope), with at least 50% of total project units affordable for renters at or below 80% of AMI. 

The gross rent for units to be occupied by households who earn at or below 80% of AMI may not exceed 30% of the monthly income for the household. Priority will be given to projects that are affordable for households at or below 50% of AMI. HPP funds may only be utilized on the affordable units to be included in the completed project. 

Eligible Uses of Loan Proceeds

Eligible uses of HPP are:

  1. Acquisition of housing portfolios that either consist of affordable housing rental units or previously consisted of affordable rental housing units within the last five (5) years and for which the HPP funds will be used to return the units to affordable rental housing.
  2. Preservation of properties with project-based subsidies and/or deed restricted affordable housing at risk of being lost due to poor housing conditions or contract expiration.
  3. Operating expenses to stabilize currently affordable properties.
  4. The creation and/or preservation of Limited Equity Cooperatives (LECs).  Eligible activities for LECs include costs related to the formation of the LEC, acquisition of the existing building, capitalization of traditional reserves, and necessary renovation/rehabilitation required to ensure the long-term viability of the LEC. 
  5. Emergency stabilization activities including but not limited to roof repair, mold remediation, building systems, building envelope, life safety issues, or other physical needs that could impact the health and quality of life for current residents, or compromise the building structure.


Eligible borrowers must contribute no less than $3,000 per unit in equity to an eligible project; this may be reduced to $1,000 per unit for nonprofit development entities.  All affordable units assisted through HPP shall remain affordable for a minimum period of 40 years via a recorded

Declaration and Agreement of Restrictive Covenants running with the land.  Eligible projects should not result in a net decrease of affordable housing units or project-based subsidies.

Example – 302 Zara Street

On May 11, 2023, the URA’s Board approved a HPP loan in an original principal amount of up to $850,000 with Spring Capital Partners, LLC (Developer) for the acquisition of 302 Zara Street, a 22-unit affordable multi-family property that accepts Housing Choice Vouchers. The property was for sale and thus faced the possibility of transitioning to market rate housing. The Developer intended to purchase the building and agreed to keep the rent for all units affordable to households at or below 50% of AMI for a period of 40 years. Further, the developer agreed to complete construction of three additional units (also affordable at 50% AMI) and a light rehabilitation of the building.  

The URA and Developer closed on the HPP loan 54 business days later.  Other financing included sponsor equity and loans from Spring Garden Lending Group, LLC and Preserve Affordability Pittsburgh, LLC.

Details of HPP and to Apply

For complete details of the HPP program and to apply, see the URA’s website at