State of the Land Report: April Posted on April 29, 2022 by Gracie Brickner Share this post Welcome to the State of the Land Report! April 2022 The State of the Land Report is our monthly update where we will be educating and sharing out about everything you need to know about vacant land policy in the City of Pittsburgh! Grace and Fruit Pollinator Garden, Wilkinsburg by CommunityCare Wilkinsburg Advocacy Network Thank you for subscribing to our advocacy network, if you have not already done so please subscribe here. Grounded is working to improve the condition of vacant lots by developing sustainable solutions that can address the environmental and racial injustices currently entrenched in our property management system. The lack of a comprehensive and unified strategy to care for vacant lots disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. We must ensure that the process of land recycling and maintenance is conducted equitably, transparently, and through an anti-racist framework. Help make change happen in local, state, and federal land-use policies, voice your concerns about vacant land in your community, share how you want to see vacant land transformed, and support your neighbors in obtaining land access and ownership. State of the Land Updates Looking to Get Involved in Land Use Policy and Advocacy? Here are some policy events and meetings you can go to throughout May. Pittsburgh City Council Meetings – every Tuesday at 10:00 AMPittsburgh Standing Committee Meetings – every Wednesday at 10:00 AMPlanning Commission Meeting – every other Tuesday at 1:00 PMZoning Board of Adjustment Meetings – first three Thursdays at 9:00 AMURA Board Meeting – second Thursday of the month at 2:00 PMPittsburgh Land Bank Board Meeting – second Friday of the month at 1:00 AMArts Commission – fourth Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PMClean Pittsburgh Commission – second Thursday of the Month at 10:00 AM Give feedback on the Stormwater Strategic Plan! In partnership with PWSA, Grounded Strategies has launched a community-based effort to equip residents with information needed to engage their Pittsburgh Sewer and Water Authority (PWSA) Stormwater Strategic Plan peers on updates including design and investment strategies, stormwater fee, customer financial assistance program, and stormwater issues in their communities. Take the survey here: https://groundedpgh.org/projects/pwsa-ambassador/ Call To Action Tell us your land acquisition story! Have you tried to acquire vacant land? Do you want to try to acquire land? What is your feedback? Tell us your story! Email us Policy@groundedpgh.org Policy Updates City Council Meeting Highlights Pittsburgh City Council passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags in the city Pittsburgh City Council officially passed legislation to ban the use of single-use plastic bags in Pittsburgh. Shoppers and businesses have time to prepare: The ban won’t go into effect for another year. Consumers will have to either bring their own reusable bag, or pay a fee of 10 cents to receive a paper bag. City of Pittsburgh Updates City Cuts The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the fourth year of its City Cuts lawn-cutting program. This program is free for those who do not have the financial or social means to assist with lawn care. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. This year, the City has the budget and capacity to serve 650 neighbors with twice-monthly cuts from the end of April through October. Learn more about eligibility and applications: here Pittsburgh Recognized for Exceptional Use of Data Pittsburgh is proud to announce that it has achieved Silver Status of the What Works Cities Certification in recognition of its exceptional use of data to guide decision-making and improve residents’ lives. The What Works Cities Certification is a national standard of excellence in data-driven city governance. Next step: Gold! Pittsburgh’s Racial Homeownership Gap Grows While housing disparities have a deep history tied to overt discrimination such as redlining, the report notes that modern-day barriers continue to limit the ability of people of color to own homes. For example, Black applicants are more likely to be denied because of credit score history compared to white applicants. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition [NCRC] has published several reports highlighting the long-lasting impacts of redlining and housing discriminatory practices, including how the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened racial disparities in homeownership. Turnover at the URA starts near the top, as deputy executive director departs Diamonte Walker has served as deputy director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority since 2019. On the 18th, she will lead the launch of Pittsburgh Scholar House, a program that helps single parents to earn college degrees and establish economic stability for their households. She leaves at a time when the URA faces turnover throughout its ranks. 61 of the agency’s 112 employees have been hired since Jan. 1, 2020. Steward Spotlight – Talking Lots with Eugenia Boggus Talking Lots is a podcast series that explores the issue of vacant lots in the Pittsburgh region. We present stories of vacant land restoration and activation as told through the voices of residents, community leaders, partners, and officials. Vacant lots are often overlooked but these stories prove that beautiful things can happen when we take care of the land that surrounds us. In the seventh episode, we speak with Eugenia Boggus. She is a CommunityCare Hill District steward who has put in work in her community to ensure a safe and involved environment for community members. Eugenia explains the importance of developing vacant land and creating green spaces for communities. Listen to the full podcast below or here. Additional Resources Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group Public Policy 2022 First Quarter Recap Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group – 12th Annual Community Development Summit. Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17th. Register Now!Celebrating 15 Years of GroundedThe 15 Years of Grounded campaign celebrates our organization’s founding by highlighting 15 projects that have helped communities and residents find new ways to get outside, relieve stress, and beautify their neighborhoods. Come back daily to see which projects we highlight as we look back at the past 15 years. Help keep us Grounded and donate here.