The Hill District Consensus Group has several interconnected goals.
The Hill District Consensus Group builds the leadership and power of low-income and working-class residents of the Hill District to advance racial and economic injustice in our neighborhoods, our schools, and in our city of Pittsburgh. Through grassroots organizing, budget and policy advocacy, and implementation of strategic community plans, HDCS is building a community of hope, justice, and opportunity. The goal is to foster a community where all residents have access to jobs and opportunities, family-supported benefits, affordable housing, high-quality education—and of course—a legitimate voice in the important decisions that affect their lives and others.
We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) that operates as a tool and service for the people. We rely on donations from our extensive membership base, local corporations and institutions, and from people wanting to inspire change. We organize and hold select workshops throughout the year and host-guest speakers that are professionals in their field and can provide insightful commentary. We also organize various meet and greet opportunities with local politicians and members of the community. Below are some examples of previous events!
The Hill District Consensus Group began as a strategic planning group in 1991. At the time, community diplomats felt there was a need to coordinate the development efforts of their respective agencies. These groups and individuals included:
Hill Community Development Corporation
Hill District Ministries
House of the Crossroads
Hill District Federal Credit Union
Hill House Association
Two active community residents Dwayne Cooper and Mary Walker
Richard Adams (of the Urban Redevelopment Authority)
The group aimed to foster trust and cooperation between their agencies for the betterment of the entire community. The goal of fostering trust and cooperation soon expanded to include all of the agencies in the Hill District, including social service agencies, development organizations, resident groups, and businesses.
Since its founding, the Hill District Consensus Group has grown as a membership-based community organization and become a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The membership officially includes numerous neighborhood groups and individuals. The Consensus Group has been active in shaping community planning and development efforts for nearly 20 years. Over that time, the HDCG has achieved several significant accomplishments, including but not limited to:
Inspired and assisted with the development of Consensus Groups in East Hills, Larimer and Lincoln Lemington
Formed community-driven Hill District development plans in 1996 and 2002, respectively, that became the basis for Hill CDC and McCormick Baron Salazar developments, including the Dinwiddie Street, Wylie Avenue townhomes, and the Bedford Hill Development
Conducted and won a campaign to eliminate all tobacco and alcohol billboard advertisements in the neighborhood, even before the formation of the law that banned the practice
Organized the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Coalition which:
Reorganized power dynamics within the Hill to allow for greater community input into development decisions
Developed the Blueprint for a Livable Hill, a community ratified comprehensive social and economic vision for the Greater Hill District
Won the first community benefits agreement in Pennsylvania, which brought nearly 12 million dollars in resources to the neighborhood
Facilitated community review of potential development projects in the Hill District since establishment and staffing of Hill District Planning Forum in 2009
Mobilized more than 200 residents and provided other community engagement support in creating the latest neighborhood Master Plan in 2011: The Greater Hill District Master Plan
Codified community viewpoints via the Greater Hill District Development Principles
Helped to create a more positive public identity for the Hill District via our newsletter, which has been distributed to 6000+ homes in the Hill District
Developed effective strategies for community engagement in development efforts that have been disseminated through books, research articles, dissertations, and has been presented across the nation (Buffalo NY, Youngstown OH, Philadelphia PA, KY, Detroit MI, Washington DC, Indiana, Los Angeles CA, Chicago IL)
Helped secure 200+ jobs for community residents via Community Benefits Agreement enforcement
For more information on the Hill District Consensus Group organizing model, please check out this article "Organizing for Economic Justice" written by Carl Redwood and Bonnie Young-Laing.
HDCG Implementation Methods
Promote broad community involvement in economic revitalization efforts.
Ensure that development projects achieve shared prosperity across diverse economic & demographic groups.
Mobilize community residents, businesses, and groups. Help them connect with others working toward community revitalization and to build strong organizational governance.
Understand process, players and a range of strategies/best practices for community-driven revitalization.
Take steps to revitalize the community. Codify community standards, implement standards, disseminate standards, and/or enforce standards via 'Carrot or Stick'.
Resident and Organization Engagement
Image and Identity Outreach- Hill Newsletter
Master Plan that reflects equitable development principles.
Development Review for assessing the potential social and economic benefits.
Increased numbers of block organizations
Improved community socioeconomic conditions
Resident Development Priorities implemented
Improved community socioeconomic conditions
Readers are well informed about key community issues
Readers perceive that the Hill District has a positive image and identity
Produce housing affordable to low- and moderate-income residents of the Hill District
Produce jobs that pay a living wage
Create retail or other economic opportunities for existing Hill District business owners
Few community residents and businesses are displaced as a result of developments
Equal opportunities are created for Hill District non-profit organizations