Tiny homes as a solution to homelessness

By Caiti Kinnear and Kenny Konigsberg Eviction and homelessness have become major problems in Pennsylvania, and especially in Allentown–over 400,000 Pennsylvania households are currently at risk of eviction. They have left people living on the streets, in their cars, with little to no access to shelter, food, water, showers, haircuts and laundry. After many attempts […]

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Will the Waterfront bring gentrification?

By Abigail Scheidel A $425 million waterfront investment in the first and sixth wards of Allentown is promising 12 new buildings, a 200 seat amphitheater, and a Riverwalk trail along the Lehigh riverfront. This is being developed by Jaindl Enterprises, a family business run by the Jaindls who have been in Allentown since 1904. Developments […]

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Is rental assistance a permanent solution or just a bandage?

By Gabi Hirshfield Evictions are a familiar problem for Allentown, with the city having an eviction rate of 2.79%, the third highest of large cities in Pennsylvania, according to the Eviction Lab. The pandemic merely made the circumstances that lead to evictions more clear and visible to the public, and Americans are questioning whether housing […]

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Renters rights

By Jenna Stockfeder In Allentown, landlords are leaving tenants in substandard living conditions and are driving rent through the roof as a result.  It is being compared to a war between tenants and landlords over rent wages, and it has left a nagging relationship between them that is causing tension. According to the city council, […]

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Preserving Allentown’s past

By Leila Pervizpour In 1927, the city of Allentown celebrated the opening of a high class hotel on Hamilton Street that soon became known as the Grand Lady of Hamilton Street. However,in the 1970s, the newly developed Lehigh Valley Mall quickly gained attraction from wealthy white residents of Allentown, who previously flocked to center city […]

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The hidden homeless

How unstable housing leads to sex exploitation By Sarah Wedeking Trigger warning: Mentions of trauma and sex trafficking When most people think of sex trafficking, they probably think of the white van in the dark of night. What they don’t think about are the victims who are vulnerable on the streets. The ones who have […]

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Is the NIZ improving Allentown?

By Carly Giacoio Every city has its Main Street, and for Allentown, that’s Hamilton Street. From the courthouse to the library as well as a host of shops, restaurants, and offices, Hamilton Street comprises the heart of downtown Allentown. This is why in 2009 the city decided to embark on an ambitious plan to revitalize […]

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The challenge of seeking shelter in Allentown

The challenge of seeking shelter in Allentown Getting shelter starts with 211 By Tom Hiller Lehigh County is ranked first in Pennsylvania counties requesting housing & shelter services under PA 211. The city of Allentown is a major contributor to this ranking, data collected has shown an estimated 54.7 percent of renters in Allentown pay […]

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Allentown’s Red Line

Allentown doesn’t have a redlining map, or at least not one that has survived to be examined today. Yet, even without an official red line on a map, investors seem to have drawn that line of their own when it comes to home sales in the city.

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Finding hope for LGBTQIA+ youth

While roughly 7% of youth in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+ they comprise 40% of unhoused youth. Why LGBTQ+ experience higher rates of homelssness often comes down to acceptance at home.

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Redlining and the Allentown School District

By Cydney Wilson William Allen High School, once known as Allentown High School, has changed drastically over the past few decades. It has become increasingly diverse and less financially capable, leading to a lack of resources and low graduation rates. This can largely be attributed to the practice of redlining. According to the Fair Housing […]

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2030 plan incentivizes affordable housing

By Vicki Zandier “Cost-burdened” households and renters make up the vast majority of Allentown. They are struggling to remain in their households due to the steep increase in rent that only continues to rise. Over 30% of their annual income goes towards housing costs, including rent and maintenance. This leaves little funding left over for […]

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The Waterfront plans to reconnect to Lehigh River

By Dana Bonner Spanning twenty-nine acres on the western banks of the Lehigh River, the Waterfront Development includes plans for apartment-style living, workspaces, and a commuting road and trail from Hamilton Street in Allentown into Whitehall Township. This project will be built on a former industrial site. The Waterfront is part of the Neighborhood Improvement […]

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When landlords neglect their properties, how can we hold them accountable?

By Shira Holtz The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act (Act 90) was passed by the state of Pennsylvania in 2010 to crack down on neglectful landlords and properties that are unsafe or against code. It gives cities the ability to deny certain permits to landlords if they own a property with serious code violations […]

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What is the NIZ?

By Carly Giacoio Allentown has been having an identity crisis–a former bustling industrial city, it has been trying to reinvent itself, most notably with a revitalization project called the NIZ. The NIZ (Neighborhood Improvement Zone) in Allentown is a taxing district created in 2009 to transform 128 acres downtown, the Waterfront, and most notably, the […]

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The evolution of Parkland School District

By Alex Caban-Echevarria The evolution of Parkland High School (PHS) began with a $77 million construction project completed in 1999, the most expensive in the region. Built on 128 acres along North Cedar Crest Boulevard, it is home to ~3,000 students and is two and a half times larger than the old facility. PHS, with […]

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Local inspectors work in rentals and presales

By Jordan Fisch Many do not know the average day of a local house inspector. With over 27,000 rental units in Allentown, checking each home or apartment can become a time consuming process. “We have 12 rental inspectors who have the duty of doing four to six systematic inspections, which involves checking the interior of […]

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Giving old homes new life

By Johnny Veglia Allentown’s relationship with housing is complicated. The historic homes and buildings in Allentown have a variety of issues, from mold to lead paint. “A lot of people don’t realize that any house built before 1978 has got lead in it and some of the houses built the next few years do because […]

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Working in Allentown

As developers invest in downtown Allentown, we spoke with local business owners who set up shop in the city to find out what they think about Allentown–here are their stories.

Living in Allentown

David Erdman’s journalism students interviewed residents as part of a Muhlenberg College class project that seeks to cover communities increasingly falling out of scope of traditional media covering the Lehigh Valley.

Read their stories here and watch for more to come.