B-PEP, the Black Political Empowerment Project, held a news conference Wednesday morning in Homewood to announce that the group has asked the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County for a moratorium on the demolition of structures in black communities.
B-PEP member William Anderson said the rapid demolition of properties that could easily be rehabbed is the beginning of gentrification that will force Homewood residents out.
“The inspector’s going to these properties just making up things that would make it raise to the level of condemnation, regardless of the actual condition of the property, based on the city and the county wanting this valuable land that African Americans and low- and moderate-income people live in now," Anderson said.
B-PEP is asking that those properties not immediately hazardous be left for rehabilitation by workers from community groups who can be learning and earning in the process.
Homewood’s population has fallen steadily from over 30,000 in 1940 to just over 6,000 in 2010, while poverty has risen.
B-PEP and its partners will present their case to City Council on Thursday.