Local, state leaders working to help those with homes impacted by landslides

PITTSBURGH — It is a picture of devastation on Glenside Street in Pittsburgh’s Observatory Hill. What was once a family home is now condemned after a landslide, something western Pennsylvania is seeing more of every year.

“We had a house that looked similar to this one, it was a young couple, newly married,” said Glen Osborne Mayor Barbara Carrier. “And all of a sudden the hillside came right through the kitchen into their home.”

Now, local and state leaders want to offer help to victims of landslides with new legislation that is getting bipartisan support.

Republican state Rep. Valerie Gaydos and Democratic state Rep. Emily Kinkead are working together to create a new insurance program for homeowners living in landslide-prone areas.

A bill would add coverage for landslides, slope movement and sinkholes to an existing program that currently only covers mine subsidence assistance and insurance.

“People are going into bankruptcy, foreclosure because they are losing their homes through no fault of their own, and we have the ability to help them by expanding the mine subsidence insurance fund to include landslides and sinkholes,” Kinkead said.

The state representatives believe there is strong bipartisan support for this legislation and plan to introduce it at their next session.

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