Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Affordable housing in Pittsburgh has just received a big boost with the announcement of grants for housing in Hazelwood.

More than $1.8 million will go to help renovate some homes before they’re resold.

So far, they’ve moved around a lot of dirt in anticipation of turning a 174-acre tract of land into Pittsburgh’s next big development.

But while excited, the neighborhood of Hazelwood is wary that it not repeat the redevelopment missteps of East Liberty, where gentrification and higher rents forced people out.

house for sale, affordable housing sale sign, city housing, for sale sign

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“We had some challenges when we saw East Liberty boom, and there was some displacement there. We want to get it right this time,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, of Pennsylvania.

To that end, Rep. Doyle has awarded more than a million dollars in federal grant money to organizations like the Hazelwood Initiative, which has already rehabbed 11 houses for qualified buyers.

“We want to make sure that this neighborhood, that accepts all people, and has a place for people of all incomes, to remain,” said Sonya Tilghman, of the Hazelwood Initiative.

Working in partnership with Federal Home Loan Banks and Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, the initiative is helping with closing costs for first-time buyers and maintenance costs to keep existing homeowners in their homes.

“The backbone of our neighborhoods are the homeowners,” said Steve Hellner-Burris. “They’re the ones who keep it stable, who watch out for each other.”

The so-called ALMONO tract is just starting to be redeveloped, and could really take off should Amazon pick the site as its second headquarters.

Hazelwood wants to be prepared.

“Whatever happens here in Hazelwood, that it becomes a neighborhood where people of all income levels all people can live here and afford to live here, that’s the challenge,” said Rep. Doyle.