Pittsburgh's chief urban affairs officer to lead Housing Authority board

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Valerie McDonald-Roberts was chosen today to chair the board of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, and said she will ensure that the agency is "cost-effective, cost-efficient ... without losing the passion for the people we serve."

Ms. McDonald-Roberts, who is the chief urban affairs officer for new Mayor Bill Peduto, replaces city Councilman Ricky Burgess as chair of the board. Mr. Burgess remains on the board, as does authority resident Janet Evans, but the other members of the seven-person panel are newly appointed.

Ms. McDonald-Roberts said that one of her goals is to expand the authority's efforts to transition residents of low-income housing into home ownership.

She said that if someone has a steady income for two years, "you should be able to own your home." The authority may develop low-cost homes. "People can live in them, and eventually own them."

The authority has had a modest home ownership program for years.

She said the authority continues the $160 million reconstruction of the Addison Terrace community in the Hill District, and awaits word on a $30 million grant application with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that would help pay for redevelopment in Larimer.

The new chair said that Mr. Burgess "has been very accommodating, very gracious" during the transition.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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