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Can Pittsburgh Attract New Residents Without Losing The Old?

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has historically been a city concerned about too many people leaving, but these days, concerns have shifted to what types of people are coming into the city. A study out last month by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition called Pittsburgh one of the fastest gentrifying cities in the country. 

90.5 WESA’s Chris Potter spoke with three local experts about what Pittsburgh might look like if current trends continue:

  • Carl Redwood, community organizer at the Hill District Consensus Group;
  • Chris Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research; and,
  • Kate Giammarise, reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who covers low-income communities. 
Credit Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Internet News Service
Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Internet News Service
Pennsylvania's new Secretary of Pardons Brandon Flood in Harrisburg on Monday, April 8, 2019.

The city has included more affordable housing in recent development projects, but Redwood says it's not nearly enough.  

"We use words to say we're doing something, but the situation keeps getting worse," he says. "There is no housing market... that is a good housing market for black people.” Redwood says there are initiatives in other cities, like Chicago's low-income trust fund, that could work for Pittsburgh. 

Elsewhere in the program: 

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announced on Monday the appointment of Brandon J. Flood as the new Secretary of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. The board recommends whether someone convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania deserves to be pardoned under Gov. Tom Wolf. Flood served nine years in a Pennsylvania State Prison on drug and gun offences before being pardoned himself. Flood explains his personal turnaround from young drug dealer in Harrisburg to holding a government position, as well as how the pardon application process has changed since his own came through. Flood says he's working towards greater accessibility of pardons and clemency for all Pennsylvanians. 

The Christmas Eve fire at Clairton Coke Works is still affecting the air quality of the region nearly four months later, according to Clairton residents. The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier spoke with parents, kids, senior citizens and workers still struggling with the poor air quality.

And since 1948, Homewood-based Jones Printing has been designing, crafting and manufacturing products for companies throughout Allegheny County. The brick-and-mortar business faces challenges in an industry that is slowly moving online. As part of the Built in PGH series, WESA’s Katie Blackleyreports on how Jones Printing is working to adapt

90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin, Alex Lenigan and Mick Stinelli contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.
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