Our History

Hill District Consensus Group began as a strategic planning group in 1991. Community representatives 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.

Today, our mission is: "
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 justice in our neighborhoods, our schools and our city. Through grassroots organizing, budget and policy advocacy, and implementing our community plans, we are building a community of hope, justice, and opportunity – a community where all residents have access to living wage jobs, family-supporting benefits, affordable housing, high-quality education, and a voice in the decisions that affect our lives.

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:

  1. Inspired and assisted with the development of Consensus Groups in East Hills, Larimer and Lincoln Lemington
  2. Formed community driven Hill District development plans in 1996, 2002, that became the basis for Hill CDC and McCormick Baron Salazar developments including the Dinwiddie Street and Wylie Avenue townhomes and the Bedford Hill Development
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Through our relationship with labor, recruited a grocery store operator to manage a Shop 'n Save store in the Hill District that will pay a living wage
  6. Facilitated community review of potential development projects in the Hill District since establishment and staffing of Hill District Planning Forum in 2009
  7. 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
  8. Codified community viewpoints via the Greater Hill District Development Principles
  9. 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
  10. 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, Kentucky, Detroit MI, Washington DC, Indiana, Los Angeles CA, Chicago IL)
  11. 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.

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