In Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, Neighborhood Allies has taken on the complicated and challenging project of helping relocate people living in some 200 units of the Penn Plaza apartment complex, whose owners decided to renovate the building.
When market forces in gentrifying neighborhoods push out longstanding, low-income residents, it takes tremendous effort and resources to rehouse those who’ve lost their homes. The crisis for Penn Plaza’s occupants began last year when they received letters stating that their leases would not be renewed and that they had 90 days to leave and make way for redevelopment of the site. The residents, many of them elderly, have lived in the complex for years and most get by on a low, fixed income. East Liberty has an extremely low vacancy rate, and landlords willing to accept Section 8 eligible tenants are few and far between.
Neighborhood Allies is working in conjunction with the City of Pittsburgh (City) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to ensure that the terms of the negotiation agreement reached by the property owner at Penn Plaza, the City and URA are fulfilled in the best manner possible while minimizing hardships of the relocation process for tenants. In support of this, Neighborhood Allies has contracted with a relocation assistance firm, Interstate Acquisition Services (IAS), to manage the relocation efforts of current Penn Plaza residents while providing them the opportunity to locate decent, safe, and affordable housing, as well as connecting them with social services.
Since our relocation work began:
- Transportation services have been coordinated / provided for several tenants that resulted in accepted applications in rental units in new neighborhoods
- Coordination efforts are on-going with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh to provide weekly updated listings of Sec 8 Voucher-eligible properties to the applicable tenants
- Department of Human Services has monitored the process closely and provided support services
- Tenants expressing problems with credit or related issues have been referred to Financial Opportunity Centers for specialized guidance
- Thousands of available rental listings have been provided for tenant consideration since the inception of the relocation office. Available properties in the immediate East Liberty and surrounding neighborhoods have been emphasized throughout this process, but numerous other rental properties with lease rates equal to or less than those at Penn Plaza and access to public transportation in other regions of Pittsburgh are frequently included in the listings
- In addition to maintaining a weekly list of currently available rental properties for tenants and processing payment applications / disbursing checks, the relocation team works individually with tenants when possible to target specific properties that match their search criteria and assist with processing applications to potential apartments
- Penn Plaza: A Different Side of The Story
- Thanks To Deal, Most Penn Plaza Residents Vacate On Time
- Penn Plaza Relocation Efforts Having a Positive Impact on a Difficult Situation
- Penn Plaza Residents Receiving Resources for Relocation
- Please join us in welcoming Claire Hortens to the Neighborhood Allies Team!
- LISC Releases Their 2015 Annual Report!
- URA funds Penn Plaza relocation
- Residents being ousted from East Liberty apartments struggle to find affordable housing
- Thank you, Heinz Endowments!