Member Spotlight: Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

Unifying the voice of nonprofits to leverage their power

Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

PCRG was organized in 1988 as a coalition of community-based organizations to provide a coordinated response to the bank practice of “redlining” – the refusal of conventional mortgage credit in low-income communities – hence becoming the region’s Community Reinvestment Act watchdog. Today, we are a federation of over 50 community and economic development corporations, and neighborhood organizations in the City of Pittsburgh and adjacent communities.  Leading this coalition, PCRG works for economic justice and equitable resources to revitalize the Pittsburgh region. We utilize our strengths of engagement, advocacy, and policy formulation to improve the health and wealth of communities. Our success comes through outcome-based collaborations that bring together community groups, financial institutions, affiliated nonprofits, developers, elected officials and government agencies, to create and implement workable solutions to major revitalization and equity issues that cut across all Pittsburgh-area communities. 

PCRG works at the convergence of three focus areas:

Access to capital, both public and private, for investment in people and projects in low-moderate-income and minority communities.

PCRG continues its heritage of ensuring equitable access to capital through partnerships with Pittsburgh’s lending institutions, redevelopment and housing authorities, and state agencies such as DCED and PHFA.  Much of our work is informed by our annual Mortgage Lending Study.  This past year, the City contracted with PCRG to help implement its Responsible Banking Ordinance, which requires banks’ record of community reinvestment be a factor in the City’s choice of where it deposits its funds. We launched CARL, a purchase-rehab home loan product which is specifically aimed at the urban core’s aging and vacant, but desirable, housing stock – especially in low-moderate income Census tracts.

Access to – and repurposing of - blighted, abandoned, and vacant land in accordance with community priorities while ensuring housing affordability.

Vacant Property Working Group (VPWG) convenes all community stakeholders – public and private – around blight, abandonment, and land reclamation, and works on continual improvement of the systems, policies, programs, and resources needed to achieve comprehensive land revitalization. Through VPWG, communities not only have a way to access vacant property and address blight’s negative effects, they also work on key policy issues to unlock land and opportunity for all communities.  VPWG led the charge for state and local land bank legislation and spearheads the housing affordability initiatives such as community land trusts. 

Access to equitable, affordable mobility choices to connect individuals and communities to greater opportunities and improve the overall affordability of Pittsburgh’s revitalizing neighborhoods.

GoBurgh advances equitable transportation access – particularly mass transit – as a revitalization priority that’s on par bricks-and-mortar development. GoBurgh has empowered many to not just understand the importance of transportation choice to revitalization and economic justice, but to also advocate for resources to bring these choices to their communities.  In the face of debilitating cuts to Port Authority and ACCESS service, GoBurgh created one of the nation’s largest and cross-functional transit funding coalitions. This, combined with policy analysis and advocacy, led to transit funding stabilization, influenced philosophy and policy changes in our transit agency and metropolitan planning organization, grew partnerships with PennDOT, and increased private investment interest at the intersection of land, mobility and capital.