Equity Action In Pittsburgh

Under Mayor William Peduto the City of Pittsburgh has taken a number of actions to drive real change and reform. He established an Office of Equity — only the fifth such office in the country, run by Chief Equity Officer Majestic Lane — and implemented many other efforts that included:

  • 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 when budgeting
  • Reforming the City’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, leading to a 37% increase in contracts to minority and women-owned businesses
  • Established the Housing Opportunity Fund within the URA, using $10 million in city funds annually to establish the Rental Gap, Homeowner Assistance, Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance, Housing Stabilization, and For-Sale Development programs; overseeing rental and mortgage assistance programs for those impacted by COVID-19; and the 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
  • Established the Office of Gender Equity, 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
  • 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” on criminal convictions when applying for City jobs
  • Implemented a ban on salary history on job applications
  • Created the Rec2Tech program, which transforms our recreation centers into after-school learning hubs
  • 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
  • Supported the URA’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 help those with low and moderate incomes
  • Distributed thousands of free books to children through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library
  • Established the Welcoming Pittsburgh office protecting and supporting the city’s immigrant community
  • 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 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


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