Homewood Bound

The War on Drugs transformed Homewood in many ways, ranging from the spread of gang violence to growing blight. In recent years, formerly incarcerated people have come into the community, with the hope of setting the neighborhood on a better course.

Our series, "Homewood Bound," takes a look at how a community founded by Pittsburgh's wealthiest families transformed into one of the city’s poorest and most racially segregated. We speak with people who witnessed the War on Drugs firsthand.

We also explore how individuals who have been released from prison find jobs and housing in the neighborhood. A range of efforts could turn Homewood into a proving ground for the idea that rebuilding lives can help to rebuild a community.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Housing is a main priority for Homewood residents. In a city short 17,000 affordable units, neighborhood activists are acutely aware of the need for low-income housing options. But in many new buildings that accept federal subsidies, formerly incarcerated individuals are barred from renting. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A periwinkle frog with geometric markings crouches in a sea of red, its toes splayed out as it prepares to leap. The painting now hangs in Dwayne Drummond’s Homewood apartment. But he remembers when he found it in somebody else’s trash.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A house stands quietly on Homewood’s Monticello Street. All the windows are boarded up. Shingles pop off the eaves. And if you look closely, you can see graffiti beneath a fading layer of white paint. The graffitti is blue, the signature color of the Crips gang.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Photographs / Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center

Homewood was founded by Pittsburgh’s wealthiest families, but it eventually became one of the city’s poorest and most racially segregated neighborhoods.