A Place to Call Home in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh Neighborhood

Posted December 8, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog aplacetocallhomeinatlanta 2017

Photo by Bari Love for the Casey Foundation.

Bran­di Oates, a New York City trans­plant, was ini­tial­ly intim­i­dat­ed by home­own­er­ship as she searched Atlanta for a safe, invit­ing place to raise her fam­i­ly. But in the city’s Pitts­burgh neigh­bor­hood, the affec­tion that res­i­dents had for their com­mu­ni­ty set it apart.

I met the peo­ple who are invest­ing in the neigh­bor­hood, who have kids at the ele­men­tary school, and every­one was just wel­com­ing and hope­ful,” she recalls.

By the new year, Bran­di and her fam­i­ly expect to move into a ren­o­vat­ed, near­ly 1,700-square-foot home in Pitts­burgh. It is one of 53 hous­es that the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion pur­chased to help increase home­own­er­ship in the area and trans­form it into an inclu­sive com­mu­ni­ty where chil­dren and fam­i­lies can thrive.

To advance these efforts, Casey has worked with many part­ners. One is Invest Atlanta, the offi­cial eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment author­i­ty for the city, which pro­vid­ed Bran­di and her fiancé, Earis, with down pay­ment assis­tance as part of a pur­chase-ren­o­va­tion program.

Today, Bran­di and Earis are already dream­ing of what their new home will look like. Earis hopes to remove a few walls to open up the cramped inte­ri­or, cre­at­ing a three-bed­room, two-bath lay­out com­plete with a mas­ter suite. And Bran­di loves the idea of hav­ing a front porch — a place to sip sweet tea and watch her 10-year-old daugh­ter Nyla play. She also likes the short com­mute to her job at Grady Memo­r­i­al Hos­pi­tal where she works as a nurse.

The fam­i­ly has big plans for the back­yard, which, for now, is cov­ered in concrete.

We’ve been break­ing up the con­crete and want to plant herbs and have a place for my daugh­ter and friends and nieces to play,” says Bran­di. And add a fire pit for the grown-ups.”

It is a vision that stands in stark con­trast to the home’s con­di­tion in recent years. Built in 1920, the one-sto­ry house had fall­en into dis­re­pair. Its rooms were lit­tered with spi­ders, squir­rels and mold.

The block-by-block renais­sance unfold­ing in Pitts­burgh is the work of many part­ners — beyond Casey and Invest Atlanta — that are help­ing with code enforce­ment, home repairs and var­i­ous oth­er neigh­bor­hood-improve­ment projects. These groups include the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, the Pitts­burgh Com­mu­ni­ty Improve­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, Trees Atlanta, Com­mu­ni­ty Move­ment Builders and the Atlanta Neigh­bor­hood Devel­op­ment Part­ner­ship, a local non­prof­it that spe­cial­izes in rehab­bing fore­closed homes.

Bran­di is proud of Pittsburgh’s rich his­to­ry and excit­ed about the changes she sees out­side her new windows.

It is a com­mu­ni­ty that has mem­bers very invest­ed in cre­at­ing a safe and wel­com­ing envi­ron­ment — and more peo­ple are com­ing to help,” she says. We can real­ly build a place that is beau­ti­ful, mean­ing­ful and safe for all of us.”

Learn more about Casey’s oth­er hous­ing work in Atlanta

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