THEHOUSING AffordableHousinginPittsburgh SHELTER,”saysThe Pittsburgh Foundation’s Jane Downing, “is one of our most basic needs.” As senior program officer for Community and Economic Development, working for decades on affordable housing and related issues, she knows its importance all too well. About 11,000 people each year encounter some aspect of homelessness in Allegheny County. “Housinginsecurity canhappento anyone,” sheexplains. “Lossofajob, deathofapartner, anaccident, unexpectedhospitalbills — any of these might lead to a missed rental or mortgagepaymentthatcouldtrigger eviction or homelessness.” A graduate of Bates College and the University ofPittsburgh’sGraduateSchool ofPublicandInternationalAffairs, Downing servedinthePeaceCorpsearly inher career. She then landed a position in the Planning Department of Pittsburgh’s city government, and rose through the ranks to eventually become the department’s director under Mayor SophieMasloff. ShejoinedtheFoundationin1994, where shehasaddressedhomelessnessthrougha variety ofprojectsandsignificantinitiatives, including: fundingofpre-developmentworkfor ACTION-Housingto converttheMcKeesport YMCA into asupportedhousingcommunity for mainly homelessmen; supportingahomeless veteransdevelopmentinGarfield; anddevising regionalhousinglegalservicesspecificto the PennsylvaniaHousingandFinanceAgency. She hasbeenontheAllegheny County’sHomeless Advisory Boardfor morethanadecade. 60 61 RE P ORT TO THE COM M UNI TY THE P I TTSBURGH F OUNDATI ON East Liberty residents Mabel Duffy, left, and Myrtle Stern were among the many blocking traffic at the intersection at Penn Circle in East Liberty to protest neighborhood gentrification and displacement of Penn Plaza Apartment residents. PHOTO BY PAM PANCHAK/ POST-GAZETTE Copyright© Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2017, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. DECONSTRUCTING THE HOUSING DILEMMA