Equity in Action

City of Pittsburgh: Equity in Action

Equity is a top priority in the City of Pittsburgh, where we work to drive real change and reform. On top of creating the fifth Office of Equity in the United States, Mayor William Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh have implemented many other initiatives to promote equity that include: 

Joining the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), leading to citywide training in racial equity and establishing racial equity toolkits for every City department to use to ensure equity is infused in their plans and projects when budgeting. 

Reforming the City’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program through the recommendations of the minority and women-owned business community and experts, leading to a 37% increase in city contracts awarded to MWBEs.   

Established the Housing Opportunity Fund within the Urban Redevelopment Authority, using $10 million in city funds annually to establish the Rental GapHomeowner AssistanceDown Payment and Closing Cost AssistanceHousing StabilizationSmall Landlord FundHome Accessibility Program for IndepdendenceHousing Legal Assistance and For-Sale Development programs. In a quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Housing Opportunity Fund set up additional rental and mortgage assistance programs for those impacted. Demonstrating their ability to respond to patterns in the housing needs of the Pittsburgh community, the Housing Opportunity Fund hosted the first citywide Roof-a-Thon which will provide a total of 24 homes in Pittsburgh between $30,000-$35,000 worth of home repairs and a new roof in the summer of 2020.  

Established the Gender Equity Commission and Office of Gender Equity who released the Gender Equity Commission’s groundbreaking "Pittsburgh's Inequality Across Gender and Race" report in 2019, and became the 6th U.S. city to approve a CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) ordinance. 

Established the online Housing Assistance Resource Portal (HARP) to connect residents to organizations and resources that will help them buy a home, fix up their home, or find programs to help with any of their housing needs after filling out a short quiz.  

Proposed and signed the City’s first Inclusionary Zoning Overlay District ordinance, which requires that all new developments in rapidly growing Lawrenceville include at least 10% affordable units. 

Established free Financial Empowerment Centers to assist low-income residents with their personal finances, which has helped 557 people save a combined $319,777 and reduce their debts by $223,417 total.    

Implemented expansion of “ban the box” so that individuals applying for City jobs do not have to identify criminal convictions which could lead to employment bias and barriers.  

Implemented a ban on salary history on job applications to ensure all applicants have access to a fair and competitive wage for their position.  

Created the Rec2Tech program, which transforms our recreation centers into after-school learning hubs for young people to develop competitive tech skills.  

Joined the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which coordinates with partners throughout the city and region to build opportunities and a brighter future for young Black men.  

Created the Summer Learn & Earn program, which connects nearly 2,000 underserved residents in the region between the ages of 14 and 21 with six-week summer jobs to develop professional and trade skills.  

Supported the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Catapult program, the business incubation program for minority and women entrepreneurs who want to start a business, or existing businesses looking to grow. 

Joined 12 select cities nationwide in the Mayors for Guaranteed Income pilot, to provide financial support and sustainable equity to those with low and moderate incomes.  

Distributed tens of thousands of free books to children ages 0-5 in the city through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library as reading and access to book improves educational outcomes for young children.  

Established the Welcoming Pittsburgh office protecting and supporting the city’s immigrant, refugee, and New American communities in policy, education, access, workforce development, business development and more.  

Improved infrastructure such as sidewalks and countdown pedestrian signals in minority communities like Homewood that were long underinvested.  

Won federal support of the community-driven Larimer Choice project, which includes the development of hundreds of mixed-income housing units and a new neighborhood park space.  

Approved important gun safety ordinances following the Tree of Life massacre.  

Established the civil affairs unit within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, increased staffing in the PBP’s Neighborhood Resource Officer and Community Resource Officer beats, and invested further in the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program.  

Required implicit bias training for police and all City departments.  

Supported use-of-force legislation introduced by state Representatives Summer Lee and Ed Gainey, and called on state leaders to take action to amend Act 111 and allow municipalities to release police body camera footage.  

Agreed with American Civil Liberties Union to change police interview process for applicants in effort to boost minority hiring.  

Signed President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Pledge, which charges the City with reforming our Police Bureau with community input.  

Oversaw five years of declining crime rates, including the lowest number of homicides in 20 years.  

Launched the Office of Community Health and Safety, which will utilize social and public health services rather than policing to respond to certain situations in the community. 

Collaborated with Allegheny County and CONNECT to implement a pre-arrest diversion program for people who commit low-level crimes stemming from behavioral health issues, including those whose crimes are related mental health and poverty as well problematic substance use   

Worked with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund to deliver multiple grants to local non-profits to fight gun violence in our neighborhoods, including South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace, CeaseFirePA Education Fund, and Black Women for Positive Change.

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