Black Residents Displaced in Pittsburgh

Rents are on the rise in Pittsburgh, prompting some longtime residents to relocate farther away. Race, as well as class, figures heavily in this narrative.

1 minute read

March 1, 2016, 5:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Pittsburgh Skyline

Robpinion / Wikimedia Commons

Nick Coles calls attention to the ongoing displacement of low-income black residents in Pittsburgh. Despite positive "livability" scores from national magazines, "The facts that we have among the steepest bus fares in the nation, the lowest minimum wages, and high infant mortality among African Americans do not figure in rankings designed to attract tourists and new businesses to the city."

Coles, who is white, says he has benefited from an urban renewal with very unequal effects. "My street, which was mixed-race back then, now appears to be entirely white, despite being majority rental. There's a deep injustice in the fact that many residents who lived through the period of 'blight' in the neighborhood are not here to share in its renewal or in the wealth being generated."

The article discusses ways an organized community can resist this trend. "On Pittsburgh's North Side a strong tenant council prevented the eviction of more than 300 low-income families from Section 8 housing slated for redevelopment. Working with the URA and other agencies, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing acquired properties and used a 'rehab for resale' strategy to keep people in their homes."

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