Plan Earlier than Metropolis Council Throws Thousands and thousands of COVID Help Funds Into Combat Towards Gentrification – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A new plan is in the works to stop the exodus of African Americans from the Pittsburgh neighborhoods. A plan before the city council calls for a massive infusion of COVID aid funds to build affordable housing.

Amidst the new luxury East Liberty apartments and the Tony National Chain Stores, Jamil’s is one of the few black-owned companies. And owner Rafiq Brookins says a lot of his friends and former clients are gone.

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“If someone can only afford a $ 500 monthly rent and the population has changed enough that those who come to town are willing to pay $ 1,500 a month, what can you do ? You’re forced, ”said Brookins.

With the demolition of public apartment towers and the demolition of low-cost apartments like Penn Plaza Apartments, the city has seen an exodus of African Americans. According to recent census data, that’s 7,000, or 9 percent of the city’s black population over the past 4 years.

“They didn’t leave to take advantage of economic opportunities and go to other cities. They left because they could no longer afford to live in the city of Pittsburgh, ”said activist Randall Taylor.

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On Wednesday, Taylor and other members of the Penn Plaza Coalition petitioned the city council for $ 200 million of the $ 355 million in COVID aid under the American Rescue Plan to build affordable housing in East Liberty, Homewood and Lincoln-Larimer to use to bring back displaced persons.

“If you want to let this city grow, why don’t you start with the people who wanted to live here?” he said.

In the hearing on Zoom, the council listened to more than two dozen activists, community leaders and displaced persons who could not be seen due to a computer glitch. But Councilor Ricky Burgess said the plan must go beyond affordable housing for poor people.

“They want to rebuild Homewood, but not with all the bad apartments. You want mixed income living. They also want shops and restaurants. They also want dry cleaners and drug stores, ”said Burgess.

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There is no formal legislation. Not a formal plan. But the issue of gentrification, displacement of blacks and affordable housing is at the heart of the race and the mayor’s question, whose time may have come.

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