Recession Hitting Local African-Americans Hard

Housing equity has plummeted, taking families’ wealth with it

By Mark Roth
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dec 5, 2011 – Joyce Davis began to see the change in Penn Hills after the recession hit.

Ms. Davis is executive director of the Lincoln Park Community Center, which runs a food pantry that serves about 150 families each month. About 90 percent of them are African-American.

Before the latest economic slump, said Ms. Davis, who is also head of the Penn Hills NAACP chapter, the pantry served only 90 to 100 families each month, and the main customers were elderly people and single mothers.

But in the last few years, she has seen more and more men who have either lost their jobs or can’t find work.

"They basically don’t have enough money to really take care of the needs of their families," she said. "I have had people come who have actually cried because they said ‘Before, I was making donations to the pantry, and now I need help from it.’ "

It doesn’t surprise her.

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