July community meeting: Equity One-Stop Shop, Year Up and inclusionary zoning | The Homepage

Updated: Aug 31

By Juliet Martinez

The Equity One Stop Shop will reuse the existing chapel space for (left to right) worship in the existing sanctuary, tenant spaces for organizations that serve the community, flexible spaces for community use and an affordable rental home. Photos courtesy of POORLAW


POORLAW founder Saundra Cole, and Pastor Lutual Love of Praise Temple Deliverance Church, gave an update on the Equity One-Stop Shop Resource Center project at the July 12 Hazelwood Initiative community meeting. They plan to buy and renovate the Church of the Good Shepherd at the corner of Johnston and Second avenues. It will offer space for offices, networking and meetings; a kitchen and other amenities. Praise Temple Deliverance Church will worship in the sanctuary.


The historic structure needs repairs on the roof and masonry, a new HVAC system, upgrades to the kitchen and electrical system, four new ADA-compliant bathrooms, and asbestos abatement.


The house connected to the church will be renovated as a three- or four-bedroom affordable or Section 8 rental home for a single family.


The development team expects to acquire the property within a few months. The next phase, occupancy and renovations starting, should begin in the next six to nine months. The final phase of renovation is expected to take up to two years.


Year Up young adult professional training

The Year Up program is a free professional business and information technology training for youth from 18-29 years old who do not have a four-year degree and do have a high school diploma or GED.


The year-long program is a full-time commitment. Participants receive a stipend during the first six months of training. Upon successful completion of the training in IT or Business Fundamentals, students are guaranteed a paid (minimum wage) internship at BNY Mellon. Presenter Hilda Maria Valdespino said 80% of graduates get full-time jobs following the program, earning an average of $44,000 per year.


Applications are due August 20. Learn more at yearup.org or contact Ms. Valdespino with questions at 412-219-4692 or email hmvaldespino@yearup.org.


Inclusionary zoning

Dave Breingan, executive director of Lawrenceville United, presented on inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning is a policy aimed at creating more affordable housing by requiring developers to set aside a certain percentage of new housing units as affordable.

In Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, 705 new units were built over five years, but in the last decade only 10 new affordable units have come onto the market through the private market.


Rents in the new units are out of reach for many Pittsburghers. Mr. Breingan showed examples of new studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments range from $1,939 to $2,964 per month.


In Lawrenceville, increased housing prices caused the loss of 120 affordable units and displaced 300 Somali Bantu community members; the neighborhood lost half its Black population and a third of the children under 18 in just five years.


Mr. Breingan said this is happening citywide, with 80% of neighborhoods showing a sharp rise in housing prices.


The inclusionary zoning ordinance that his organization campaigned for became permanent in 2021.


Under this ordinance, projects with more than 20 units must set aside 10% as affordable housing for 35 years. Earlier this year, the ordinance was extended to Polish Hill and Bloomfield.


So far in Lawrenceville, the ordinance has mandated the creation of 35 new affordable rental units and five affordable homes for sale.


However, a special interest group representing corporate developers and builders is suing the City of Pittsburgh in federal court to stop the city from addressing the housing crisis through inclusionary zoning.


Those wishing to sign a petition supporting inclusionary zoning in Pittsburgh can do so at

Bit.ly/defendIZ. The petition demands that:

  • The plaintiffs halt attacks against working-class families and lawful housing policy

  • The City of Pittsburgh stand by its mandate to build a “Pittsburgh for all” by expanding inclusionary zoning city-wide and aggressively pursuing other policies to address affordable housing crisis in Pittsburgh

For more on inclusionary zoning, read Mr. Breingan’s article in the July Homepage. Look for a Hazelwood-focused part two in the September issue.


Juliet Martinez is the managing editor of The Homepage.


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