The Pittsburgh community is arguably one of the hardest hit communities from the economic crisis in the Atlanta metro area. The historic African American community was very intentionally targeted for some of the city’s worst predatory loans from the late 90’s to 2008. The result: the community was essentially stripped of it’s wealth and left half empty with one of the highest unemployment rates in the city.
Today about half of the homes in Pittsburgh are vacant. Many of them are beyond repair. There are few remaining businesses and jobs are scarce. The empty lots in Pittsburgh have proven tempting to outsiders who are looking for a place to dump trash, tires, and other junk. These piles continue to lower the esteem and aesthetic of the community.
Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and residents of Pittsburgh have begun to facilitate mutual aid clean up days and establish “no dumping” zones. This week we just finished up our fourth clean up project, and while this community has a long way to go, it’s been gratifying to engage in an activity that has immediate results.
Our hope moving forward is to organize a block by block skills bank and begin to match community skills with community needs. In this fashion we hope build a stronger culture of mutual aid in Pittsburgh.