By Juliet Martinez
We have a lot of important news in this Homepage issue, like an update on the Equity One-Stop Shop Resource Center taking shape in the former Church of the Good Shepherd, and an explainer about PWSA’s proposed water rate hikes from Ann Belser at our sister publication, Print. We have a report on the PWSA stormwater plan by Ziggy Edwards, and news of traffic calming coming to Hazelwood Avenue.
It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make newsworthy events happen. My colleagues at Hazelwood Initiative are also busy behind the scenes laying the groundwork for future news: new affordable homes in this community.
Hazelwood Initiative's real estate department has been working for more than two years to build three new houses at 335-339 Flowers Avenue. These will be attractive, energy-efficient and affordable to low-income families. But the process – especially buying two of the three lots from the Pittsburgh Land Bank – has been challenging.
Director of Real Estate Dave Brewton gave me a glimpse into the project:
There are so many steps, it's hard to describe them all: identifying and buying the land where the project will fit, selecting a design that is attractive and also affordable, raising the funds from different sources and complying with all of the rules and restrictions, hiring an architect, getting zoning approval... Just to name a few!
We are proud to be one of the very first community organizations that will be purchasing vacant lots from the Pittsburgh Land Bank, which we expect to do some time in the next three months. Right now, our attorneys and our funders' attorneys are reviewing the Agreement of Sale that will transfer the property to HI. That should put the process on a sure path to ownership by the fall.
Sometimes I have the good fortune of seeing my colleagues' work come full circle. On June 20, Hazelwood Initiative sold a house that the organization bought and rehabbed to a first-time homeowner. I hope you will join me in wishing her the very best in her new home!
If you are interested in homeownership, please reach out to Mr. Brewton at 412- 421-7234 x 407 or fill out an interest form at www.hazelwoodinitiative.org.