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EAST LIBERTY (KDKA) – An economic boom is transforming East Liberty, but older residents and businesses say higher rents and gentrification are forcing them out.
In many ways, East Liberty has been a victim of its own success.
Redevelopment has exceeded everyone’s expectations, but higher rents have also priced out a lot of longtime residents and businesses.
Community leaders and Mayor Bill Peduto want to bring back all of those residents displaced by the demolition of Penn Plaza and several public housing projects.
To that end, they’re announcing three new affordable housing projects to be financed in part by the city’s new Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The group also wants rent subsidies for home-grown minority owned businesses and a new citizen development review board to oversee and recommend development projects that benefit the community.
The effort was spearheaded by Councilman Ricky Burgess and members of the faith-based community.
“In the African-American community in particular, the black church has always been the focal point of our community, not just to come to church on Sunday and shout, but we’re also going to be in the board room on Monday to make sure that the least of these will also be included, so we can all say that Pittsburgh is the most livable city for all of its residents,” Rev. Darryl Canady said.
“Today, what you see is a community pulled together, led by faith-based leaders in order to be able to utilize these tools and empower themselves and the people in the neighborhood to take control of their own community,” Mayor Peduto said.
Now, the organizers hope that these steps will have a real impact on making East Liberty a more inclusive community.