Dear Members of the Allegheny County Board of Health:
We, the undersigned, are concerned about the condition of our housing stock in Allegheny County, and we call upon the Board to create a Housing Advisory Committee to assist the Board and the Health Department in modernizing our county housing code, Article VI.
Partnering with the Public is Important
The broader public has an important role to play in advocating for policy and practice changes to improve the housing goals and objectives of the Board and the Department and in monitoring progress toward those goals and objectives.
Therefore, as the Board considers revising Article VI of the Department’s Rules and Regulations, we call upon the Board to create and convene a Housing Advisory Committee, like the Food Safety Advisory Committee or the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee.
As with those Committees, a Housing Advisory Committee would evaluate and recommend revisions to Article VI, and the Committee would advise the Board and Department on how best to implement the Housing and Community Environment Program in our communities.
Now is the Time to Create and Convene a Housing Advisory Committee
As the Board gears up to revise Article VI, now is the time to create and convene a Housing Advisory Committee. As you know, our Health Department’s housing code has not been revised in more than 25 years. And the code has not kept pace with best practices.
This is why NOW is the time for the Board of Health to begin the process of revising Article VI. And it is why NOW is the time to create and convene a Housing Advisory Committee to participate in that process.
The Housing Code should proactively protect health, accessibility, and tenants’ rights
We also urge the Board to consider expanding the breadth of Article VI beyond bare minimum standards. Instead, the housing code should proactively protect health, accessibility, and tenants’ rights, utilizing best practices. Local governments throughout the country have begun adopting proactive code enforcement policies that incentivize repairs and protect tenants. Allegheny County can and should adopt those best practices.
We hereby urge you to add a provision to Article VI at this time, modeled on Section 350 of Article III, to create and convene a Housing Advisory Committee to participate with the Board and Department as you go about fully modernizing and, in the future, implementing a new and more health-protective and equitable Article VI.
California Kirkbride Neighbors
Alliance for Police Accountability (APA)
Better Life Starts
Clean Water Action
Clean Water Fund
Community Justice Project
Hill District Consensus Group
Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS)
Kathleen Krebs, RN
Kimberly Creps Kline
Abby Rae LaCombe
Lorraine Starsky, RN
Pittsburgh Black Worker Center
Regional Housing Legal Services
The Wellness Collective
Women for a Healthy Environment