January community meeting | The Homepage
Rate Your Landlord, Mon Water Project, Friends of the Riverfront, Gladstone Residences update
By Juliet Martinez
The Hazelwood Initiative community meeting on January 10 was the first in-person meeting since February 2020. The hybrid meeting in the second-floor meeting space at Community Kitchen Pittsburgh included 20 in-person and 27 virtual participants learning about housing, waterways and trail connections.
Rate Your Landlord
Shanon Hughes, founder of The Narrative Justice, has launched a landlord rating tool. The Narrative Justice promotes the first-person stories of people who are marginalized and oppressed. A recent outgrowth of this project is the landlord rating project. Renters can use it to alert others to landlords who charge high application fees, do not repair their properties or in other ways mistreat tenants and applicants.
Ms. Hughes said tenants have few protections against unjust treatment from their landlords. If a tenant files a complaint with the Health Department, a finding in favor of the tenant could still result in eviction if the rental unit is found to be unsafe for habitation. She said some landlords keep a rental unit on the market for a long time, collecting application fees and then rejecting the applicants for having children or other discriminatory reasons.
The landlord rating project gives tenants a means of holding landlords and management companies accountable or highlighting those who treat tenants fairly. See www.thenarrativejustice.com/good-landlords for more information.
Connecting Hazelwood to Duck Hollow
Courtney Mahronich Vita, director of trail development and government relations for Friends of the Riverfront, spoke to the meeting about reconnecting Hazelwood to the Duck Hollow trail. The trail is disconnected from both Second Avenue and the Carrie Furnace site.
The organization received a $400,000 grant from the Allegheny County Trail Development Fund for planning and feasibility studies on connecting Hazelwood, Rankin and Braddock. The request for proposals has gone out; the organization anticipates a project kickoff and starting to get community input in March.
“We want this trail to be reflective of the community of the goes through,” Ms. Vita said. “We want to make sure that the amenities that are put there are what people want.”
One challenge they anticipate is the railroad claiming ownership of the land under the Glenwood Bridge at the end of Herbert Way in Hazelwood. The organization will be searching property records to make sure the city still owns that right of way. The next step will be to determine what kind of structure will need to be built to allow bicycles to cross the tracks.
Work is proceeding on schedule, but the contractors are having trouble finding people who want to work on the site. Please encourage folks to apply. Interested applicants please call executive director Sonya Tilghman at (412) 421-7234 x 405.
Mon Water Project
Annie Quinn, executive director of the newly-formed Mon Water Project, spoke about the organization’s mission of building a coalition to conserve, restore, enjoy and protect the waters that flow through Oakland, Squirrel Hill, Greenfield, Glen Hazel, and Hazelwood into the Monongahela River. See Community Voices for more information.