Community Issues

3 Communities Band Together to Save Their Neighborhoods

You can join their effort to stop gentrification from pricing people out of their homes.

Everyone wants their neighborhood to be a great place to live. But what if market forces suddenly make it a place where everyone wants to live? Chances are you get priced out.

That's what people in three neighboring communities along the Allegheny River outside of Pittsburgh want to prevent. And it's why they've banded together to make sure that, if their communities become the next "boom" neighborhoods, they'll still be able to afford to live there.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the boroughs of Etna, Millvale and Sharpsburg have just formed what's called a Community Land Trust.

The communities figure three's better than one when it comes to managing gentrification.

Without getting too technical, land trusts protect property from speculators who buy and hold homes and land in up-and-coming neighborhoods, then later resell at a profit, driving out fixed- and low-income people. A land trust develops property in a way that's permanently affordable.

The Etna/Millvale/Sharpsburg folks asked their neighbors across the river in Lawrenceville for advice on what to do. That neighborhood has become a poster child for what happens when gentrification moves in. Lawrenceville developed the city's first land trust that's resulted in the City of Bridges CLT, a regional land trust that's available to advise any community.

"We want to figure out a way so people like us don't have to leave," Corey Ochai, leader of the Sharpsburg group 'We Are People,' told the P-G.

"We care about the quality of life here." Corey Ochai

Their work is just getting started. If you'd like to find out more, or even join the movement, here are some resources. Many of these organizations have ways to get directly involved:

(Images: Etna Economic Development Corp . Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization and New Sun Rising Facebook pages)

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