On final day for Penn Plaza building, two tenants remain
February 29, 2016 6:38 PM
Samuel Dunning volunteers with The Mission Continues, a non-profit veterans organization, to help residents of Penn Plaza apartments in East Liberty move on Sunday.
By Lexi Belculfine / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Two residents of Penn Plaza’s 5704 building still needed a new place to live on Monday, the deadline for it to be emptied ahead of redevelopment.
“We’re not here to celebrate, far from it. We were able to dodge a bullet. ... But in this process in these past nine months, we were able to put together a plan to help all but two out of 115 residents — and our goal will be in the future to help all,” Mayor Bill Peduto said at a press conference Monday afternoon.
An agreement struck in September between residents, city government and private developer Pennley Park South allowed those residents to stay in the 5704 building until Monday, while those in 5600 must move by March 31, 2017, though the developer initially gave 90-day eviction notices in July.
About thirteen residents were still in the building Monday, with eight moving to 5600 and three waiting to move or for a Section 8 voucher transfer. One remaining resident hadn’t utilized the available relocation services, while the city is working with the other tenant’s family to help relocate him to housing suitable for his health issues, said Kevin Acklin, Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff.
“We know there’s a number of folks that still need to be helped at Penn Plaza, and there’s a number of folks throughout our city and our region that need to be helped as we think about affordable housing issues, as we think about gentrification, as we think about making sure no neighborhoods and the people who live in those neighborhoods are left behind,” said Presley Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies, which helped relocate Penn Plaza residents.
The mayor’s office also announced Monday that the city and Affordable Housing Task Force will host four forums where residents can provide input on policies, programs or initiatives designed to increase the supply of affordable housing. Participants are asked to RSVP online, but walk-in registration will be available for the 6-8:30 p.m. events:
March 7, American Legion, 2863 Chartiers Ave., Sheraden;
March 15, Lifespan Knoxville Resource Center, 320 Brownsville Rd., Knoxville;
March 23, Letter Carrier’s Union Hall, 841 California Ave., California-Kirkbride;
March 29, Kingsley Association, 6435 Frankstown Ave., Larimer.
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