The Pittsburgh Foundation

Pittsburgh Foundation’s Jane Downing among three leaders recognized for affordable housing

Awards given at the PHFA’s Housing Forum earlier this month

Pittsburgh, May 23, 2022 – The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency recognized three affordable housing leaders earlier this month during its Housing Forum conference at the Hilton Harrisburg. Honored with the agency’s prestigious Housing Pioneer Award were:

“Jane Downing has been setting the standard for leadership in affordable housing for decades. She has also been instrumental in all of our efforts around eviction prevention through convening a broad group of key stakeholders, helping to establish a pilot housing court here in Pittsburgh,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder in congratulating Downing for the award. “We celebrate Jane and all of the honorees for dedicating their lives to making safe, affordable housing available to everyone.”

For more than 20 years, Downing has led the Foundation’s grantmaking in community and economic development, serving as champion and advocate for upward mobility programs for entry-level workers, affordable housing, and transportation and green infrastructure strategies. She led the creation of the Foundation’s 2021 research report “Eviction in Allegheny County" along with Michael Yonas, Dr.PH., the Foundation’s vice president for public health, research and learning. For two decades prior to this, Downing worked for the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning, where she ultimately served as planning director. Before coming to Pittsburgh, Downing served as a community development worker in Panama’s national housing agency with the Peace Corps in Panama City.

“Our Housing Pioneer Awards are not bestowed often, which makes them a special and distinct honor,” said PHFA’s Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “The two people and one organization being honored today have distinguished themselves over decades as champions for affordable housing. This recognition is intended to honor and thank them, and hopefully inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

The awards were last given in 2019. This year also marked the 25th year of the Housing Forum.

The PHFA’s biennial Housing Forum, which ran May 11-12 and drew 450 attendees, provides professional development opportunities for people working in the housing field. Information on the forum may be found on the organization’s website.

About PHFA: The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency works to provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. Since its creation by the legislature in 1972, it has generated more than $15.9 billion of funding for more than 186,412 single-family home mortgage loans, helped fund the construction of 138,000 rental units, distributed approximately $191 million to support local housing initiatives, and saved the homes of more than 50,520 families from foreclosure.

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