Group fighting blight in Wilkinsburg expanding into Penn Hills
A Wilkinsburg nonprofit that restores homes plans to expand its work into Penn Hills.
The Pittsburgh Housing Development Association plans to acquire a house that is in bad shape in the municipality and make it livable for someone by spring, said the group's co-founder, Gregory Whitted.
“We would like to work with the residents and help with the problem of vacant properties and abandoned properties for useful purposes,” Whitted said.
Whitted would not identify where the property is until the association closes the sale. The property was made available through the National Community Stabilization Trust, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that helps governments and housing providers revitalize blighted neighborhoods.
The association has focused on restoring blighted houses in Wilkinsburg since 1982. Whitted said the nonprofit wants to expand into western Penn Hills to give more low-income families affordable housing options.
Penn Hills has a population of 42,329, according to the 2010 census. A Census Bureau estimate in 2016 showed 76 percent of its residents own their homes — a number higher than the state or national percentage. Whitted said those numbers indicate Penn Hills is in good shape when it comes to home ownership.
“But that doesn't mean there isn't blight that needs to be reclaimed,” he said. “There is a continuous need for housing stock, and that's what we're about. We want to protect the neighborhoods from blight.”