Urban redevelopment. Two words that hide a plethora of variables and nuances wrapped up in a noteworthy and admirable goal.
Cities across the United States, to varying levels and intensities, all suffer from sections wrought with violence, poverty, and criminal activity. Their current condition repels or dissuades the necessary individuals and organizations to facilitate change, but those conditions of the cities cannot improve without the change agents.
Without sustainable economic growth and active community participation, these areas continue to decline. These areas often prove to be a catch-22.
Here in Pittsburgh, locals familiar with the Hill District will note similar conditions of urban decay. However, despite these problems, the Hill House Economic Development Corporation is trying to reverse the decline of this area and encourage its revitalization through five program focuses:
- Early Learning and Child Development
- Youth Services
- Family and Workforce Development
- Senior Services
- Neighborhood Development
In essence, the corporation addresses major aspects of a community in decline – families, education, standard of living, and local investment. Each program, as one might guess, focuses on a particular aspect of the Hill District and, through such empowerment, creates the incentives for residents to remain and thrive.
Over the past four decades, the corporation provided support and care to 500,000 individuals in the District and, in 2004, over 70,000 individuals participated in their programs and outreaches. It offers complementary health and human services to clients through ten tenant agencies.
In 2011, the corporation received $1.9 million dollars in job and economic growth funding designed specifically for underserved communities. That same year, it broke ground on the Centre Heldman Plaza, which centered around a Shop’ n Save grocery store, along with 6,910 square feet of open retail space available for other companies. In addition, the corporation also provides job-listings and employment training/assistance to Hill residents.
The website for the Hill House also contains the stories of many individuals positively impacted by its programs. From children to senior citizens, all these stories share one thing in common – a transformation from hopelessness to hopefulness, and the ability of people to change their own lives. Whether victims of poverty, unemployment, violence, drugs, Hill House is helping the men and women of the Hill District to take pride in their community and labor to improve it.
If you’d like more information on Hill House Economic Development Corporation please visit their website at: http://www.hillhouse.org/.
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