Pittsburgh’s Homewood Neighborhood

Homewood was annexed into the city of Pittsburgh in 1884.The neighborhood started as an area of estates for the wealthy including  Pittsburgh industrialists Andrew Carnegie. By 1910s, Irish, Italian, German, and upper middle class black families moved to Homewood helping create an ethnically diverse neighborhood. At first relations between the white and black residents of Homewood were good, but things become strained In the 1950s when the Lower Hill Urban Renewal project displaced 8,000 people, many of whom ultimately settled in rental apartments in Homewood. White flight ensued as demographics shifted from 22% black in 1950 to 66% black in 1960. The MLK riots of 68′ severely crippling the business district. This was followed by the proliferation of gangs and drugs in the 1970s and 1980s. So yea, Homewood has been through a lot.

The situation appears to have stabilized with crime plateauing. Some investment, mostly driven by government, non-profits, and philanthropy, has led to some new businesses on N. Homewood, new housing, and the Susquehanna job focused renovation. Flippers are also slowly discovering the district’s quality historic architecture and easy access to the East busway with renovated homes selling in the 100Ks. But Homewood still has a long way to go before becomes a viable urban district, requiring a blight and real estate intervention of scale. 
Click here to see my full Homewood photo album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS

* Good access to public transit.
* Lots of families households here.
* Between the many park lets, sport fields, playgrounds, public pool, and a YMCA Homewood has very good recreational amenities.
* Good ADA infrastructure through Homewood.
* Gorgeous historic architecture of various sizes and typologies. Unfortunately much of it is blighted. Some good in-fill especially along Homewood Ave.
* Good tree cover helped by the hills and elevation change.

URBAN WEAKNESSES

* No bike lanes, but several dedicated bike stations.
* Very high poverty rate (around 35%) and some economic diversity especially in the western portions of Homewood.
* Not great racial diversity either.
* For sale product is generally very in expensive. Vacant and blighted property sell below 30K or so. Decent product between 30-85K. Some renovated SF homes selling now in the 100Ks.
* Rentals are also inexpensive, but limited product officially listed. Nice 2-bedrooms go for around $850.
* Not great cultural amenities but some including a mix of several  barbecue and soul food restaurants, dive bars, and the Afro American Music Center.
* Some retail amenities including a bakery, cafe, hardware store, several beauty salons & Barbers, and convenience stores. The Coop and Construction Junction are just south of Homewood.
* Still pretty high crime and lots of blight.
* Westinghouse HS is the only school in the district and not rated well.

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