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HILL DISTRICT (KDKA) – A local community resource is facing financial crisis. The Hill House Association has been providing services for decades, but now the organization says they are millions of dollars in debt.
Since 1964, the Hill House has been providing much-needed services to the Hill District including child care, wellness clinics, senior programs and much more. But now, word has come out that the Hill House is out of funds, services could be stopped and staff left without jobs.
“What’s gonna happen, I don’t know at this point in time,” said J.T. Thomas, a former Pittsburgh Steeler and local business owner.
The former NFL player was drafted by the Hill House to open a coffee shop in the Hill. The promise was that more businesses were coming, but it didn’t work out that way.
“Unbeknown to me, I found out soon after they were broke, but you know, we had boarded the plane and at that time there was no one in the cockpit,” said Thomas.
Thomas says the Hill House suffers from funding and management problems. As a result, he’s withholding his rent and trying to renegotiate.
Thomas isn’t alone. The much-hyped Shop ‘n Save brought in by the Hill House was supposed to be a huge boost to the Hill District, a neighborhood that did not have a grocery store for decades. Now, the store is not paying their rent either and the future of groceries in the Hill District is in doubt.
“It’s actually kind of sad, because I was born and raised in the hill and we haven’t had a grocery store in some time,” said shopper Leah Taylor. “It benefits me a lot that it’s here.”
The Hill House is trying to sell some of its properties to get some much-needed cash, but some community leaders are opposing the sale of the property and fighting the sales in court.
Both the Hill House and Shop ‘n Save have yet to respond to KDKA for comment.