Earlier this week, readers of the local blogosphere wondered why Mayor Pawlowski would want a low income, low-rise in Center Square? Although the question was never answered, curiosity now centers on who will win the Sestak-Specter race? Our short memories serve our elected officials well. Pawlowski wants the project because he is a low income housing advocate who is currently serving as Mayor. Pawlowski came to Allentown in the mid 90's and successfully turned the Alliance for Building Communities into a growth industry. In 1998, when then Mayor Heydt won a national HUD award for making low-income homeowners, much of the credit rested with Pawlowski.
The city three years ago identified the need for homeownership in center city and its collar neighborhoods, and has since worked with the various city departments, the Allentown Neighborhood Housing Services, Lehigh County, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Housing Association and Development Corp., Alliance for Building Communities....*
When Afflerbach, as a mayoral candidate, announced that he would appoint Pawlowski as Community Development Director, that decision was praised by the low income advocates.
Mr. Pawlowski intimately knows what it takes to make downtown a better place to live and work. It has been his organization's mission to help provide affordable housing in Allentown and five counties. ABC operates on a budget of $3 million and manages more than 300 apartment units. As a result of this experience, Mr. Pawlowski understands the issues, dynamics and financial aspects of housing, knowledge that will help him and the new administration improve the city's housing stock.**
As Director, Pawlowski shepherded the PennRose income restricted project to Center Square. Voters shouldn't be surprised when a Republican talking point slips out of Specter's mouth, or when Pawlowski advocates for low income housing.
*July 02, 1998/ by Joe McDermott, The Morning Call
** November 30, 2001/ The Morning Call