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Hazelwood Initiative September community meeting highlights | The Homepage

Know your housing rights; Pitt Community Engagement Center; saving on your light bill

By Juliet Martinez

Megan Confer-Hammond from Fair Housing Partnership spoke to the September 13 Hazelwood Initiative community meeting about fair housing rights.

The 1968 Civil Rights Act set out protected categories that make it illegal for a landlord to deny housing to people on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex. Landlords also cannot have different rules for tenants based on these factors. In 1988, the Fair Housing Amendments Act made it illegal to discriminate against prospective renters or buyers on the basis of family status or disability.

In 2021, a Housing and Urban Development office directive stated that sexual identity and gender orientation are also protected from housing discrimination.

Landlords sometimes try to discriminate against families with children by saying the unit is only for one person per bedroom. Ms. Confer-Hammond said in Allegheny County the number of people allowed to live in a unit depends on the square footage, not the number of bedrooms. The unit must have at least 70 square feet for the first occupant and at least 50 square feet for each occupant after that.

Ms. Confer-Hammond explained that housing discrimination is defined as an act of harm related to housing based on one’s membership within a protected class. Without both committing an act of harm and the victim being a member of a protected class, a landlord, realtor or property owner’s actions do not amount to discrimination.

If you are looking for housing and you suspect discrimination, contact Fair Housing Partnership, who will conduct a test to prove or disprove discrimination.

In housing discrimination testing, applicants who belong to a protected class and applicants who do not take turns applying for leases. They have the same credit history, income and other qualifications; the only difference is that one is disabled, a single parent, queer or trans, a person of color or in some way belongs to a protected class and the other does not. If the landlord favors applicants who do not belong to a protected class, it proves discrimination.

Become a housing discrimination tester by attending a training and a practice test. Testers are paid $75 for each test. Visit, call 412-391-2535 or email

University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center

Keith Caldwell of the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center described the center’s three-part strategy. It makes a more than 20-year commitment to the neighborhoods, the work is shaped and led by a network of collaborators, and grounded by its location at Hazelwood Green.

Hazelwood is an important place in the larger life sciences corridor that universities, private interests and foundations are building in this region. The Pitt BioForge facility will be a biomanufacturing facility located in Hazelwood Green. It is expected to open in about four years.

Mr. Caldwell said it is important for the community to be involved and help guide the projects. Those who are interested in partnering should contact Keith Caldwell at

Save money on your light bill

Gina Nixon of CLEAResult told meeting participants about energy savings for low-income renters and homeowners. Eligible households must have the light bill in the occupant’s name and be enrolled in a customer assistance program or meet income requirements.

Enrolled households learn about saving energy, receive energy-efficient LED light bulbs, night lights, smart power strips and much more.

Call 1-866-787-5237, option #1, or email for more information. Office hours are from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Safe Halloween is coming up!

To support this neighborhood tradition, make checks payable to Hazelwood Initiative and write “Safe Halloween” on the memo line. Mail or drop off checks at 4901 Second Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15207. Donations of candy should be delivered to the same address by October 20.

Walk with Judah Scott for Down Syndrome awareness

Join Judah Scott, Teaira Collins and friends on October 2 from 12 to 5 p.m. at 4501 Lytle Street on Hazelwood Green. Call 412-654-5359 or email for more information.

Light-Up Night

Greater Hazelwood’s annual winter kickoff event will be on December 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. along Second Avenue. Donate Christmas decorations for the tree raffle at Carnegie Library Pittsburgh at 5006 Second Ave. Schedule pickup by calling Edith Abeyta at 412-295-1795. Send or deliver monetary donations to Hazelwood Initiative, 4901 Second Ave. Pittsburgh PA 15207. Make checks payable to Hazelwood Initiative and write “Light-Up Night” on the memo line.

Trade Up

Paid stipend, free GED preparation courses, paid GED test fees, an introduction to construction trades pre-apprenticeship course and guaranteed entry to a paid apprenticeship program after completion.

To apply, call 412-350-9920 or email, or apply online at

Come to the October community meeting on October 11, from 6-8 p.m.

Register in advance at

Call in to listen at (646) 558-8656.

Meeting ID: 853 9182 9343 Passcode: 796212

Sign up to get a free tree (or two) for your yard on October 20 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Order your tree at Limit two per household.


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