17 Oct

PCRG Servicemark MASTER

Table of Content

Member Highlight: Penn Hills Community Development Corporation

Resident-Driven Vacant Property Remediation

GoBurgh’s Advocacy Update

Reimagining Communities: Sheraden Success measures

PCRG’s 4th Annual Community Development Summit

Fineview Step-A-Thon

Homeownership Affordability Fund

Events & Announcements


Member Highlight: Penn Hills Community Development Corporation

Last modified on 2016-08-11 17:48:12 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


  1. Organization:
    Penn Hills Community Development Corporation (PHCDC)
  2. Founding Date:
    The earliest evidence shows the formation of the organization in February or March of 2010. PHCDC received its 501(c)3 letter of determination on August 27, 2011.
  3. Executive Director:
    The organization is governed by a Board of Directors, and the current president is Ray Luncher.
  4. Current Staff Size:
    PHCDC does not have any employees; PHCDC is currently an all-volunteer organization. All administrative functions and planning are executed by the Board of Director while projects are managed with various committees.
  5. What geographic area do you serve?
    The Municipality of Penn Hills.
  6. What is your mission statement?
    The mission of the Penn Hills Community Development Corporation (CDC) is to engage in activities that serve to unite the Penn Hills community and enhance the quality of life for its residents. In fulfilling this mission we seek to actively promote inclusion of the entire Penn Hills community, including all neighborhoods, as well as Penn Hills business owners and other community stakeholders.
  7. What is one project or program that you are really excited about?
    PHCDC is managing the Penn Hebron Garden Club, and the organization is in the first year of a two-year lease. PHCDC is using the lease as a trial period to see if the organization is able to manage the property. Although the details have not been fully worked out, PHCDC may pursue ownership of the building in the future. PHCDC currently uses the space for community meetings and rents it out for receptions, graduation events, and parties. Also, PHCDC partners with local businesses and artists to host a free coffeehouse every Wednesday at the Penn Hebron Garden Club.
  8. What are some of your organization’s recent accomplishment?
    PHCDC recently held its first House Tour on September 14, 2013. Coldwell Banker was instrumental in helping with the tour booklets, and PHCDC engaged area businesses and florists to help as well. The organization set up a tour of 16 homes, sold over 250 tickets, and had 54 walk-ins on the day of the tour. In terms of revenue generating and resident exposure, this was the most successful PHCDC event to date.

    Additionally, the Animal Rescue Wildlife Center in Penn Hills released a red-tailed hawk as a part of the Penn Hills House Tour.

  9. What is one must-see/must-do when visiting your neighborhood?
    Penn Hills LibraryThe Anderson Library located at the corner of Saltsburg and Stotler Rd. The building is LEED certified, and it is the 2nd most used library in Allegheny County.
  10. What is your neighborhood’s best kept secret?
    The new Penn Hills High School and the construction of a new elementary school that will open in early 2014.
  11. Is there a restaurant or business in your neighborhood that regularly partners with your organization?
    Penn Hills Lawn and Garden has been instrumental in helping the PHCDC fulfill our mission to enhance the Penn Hills Community. The local business has donated and supported many of our projects:

    • the Penn Hills Community Garden;
    • the Rain Garden Project (Rodi Road);
    • the Jefferson Senior Center Garden;
    • the Penn Hills House Tour; and
    • they serve as a drop of point for fresh produce donations for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.

    Penn Hills Lawn and Garden has set the bar for how businesses can thrive when they engage in community projects and events. They offer many additional services, from hosting a variety of workshops, landscape design, holiday decorating services, and a large 2nd floor gift shop.

    Penn Hills Lawn and Garden is just one of the many exceptional businesses the PHCDC showcases in our “Shop Local” contest, and they are former recipients of our “Golden Broom Award” given to businesses for their curb appeal.

  12. Interesting fact:
    According to the 2010 Census data, there are 42,329 residents living in Penn Hills, and it is the second largest municipality in Allegheny County.
  13. Upcoming event(s):
    PHCDC Fits on a Stick
  14. Contact information:
    Name of contact person for further inquiries:
    Marie Sandvig, PHCDC Secretary
    Penn Hills Community Development Corporation
    PO Box 17730
    Pittsburgh, PA 15235
    Penn Hills CDC Facebook:


[Source (from left to right): Ray Luncher, PHCDC President; Shawn O'Mahony, PHCDC Garden Manager; Marie Sandvig, PHCDC Secretary]

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Resident-Driven Vacant Property Remediation

Last modified on 2013-11-15 14:36:12 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Operation Better Block, Inc. (OBB)Through a pilot project, established a twelve-step process for resident-driven vacant property remediation. These twelve steps cover a comprehensive set of actions that includes: gathering and analyzing data; engaging residents and giving them support/resources; creating a vision for the target block cluster; and providing the appropriate tools to implement the vision. The driving force of this process is providing residents with access to knowledge, resources, and tools so that residents can do two things: remain in their homes and create a vision for the area around their homes.

OBB—with the support of RK Mellon, Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, and the Housing Alliance—created a how-to guide called the Community Development Fundamentals. The Community Development Fundamentals guide details three specific practices: resident and vacancy surveys, publicly-owned vacant lot maintenance, and the Bureau of Building Inspection processes. These three areas are some of OBB’s greatest lessons from the pilot project, and OBB hopes that other community groups will be able to use the lessons as a guide for residents to lead the way for revitalization.

On September 26th, over fifty people attended OBB’s manual release event which was sponsored by the Housing Alliance. Then, on October 8th, OBB held the first of many trainings. At OBB’s training, participants received a manual and a walk-through of the twelve-step process. OBB is very excited that their work in Homewood could be replicated in other parts of the City and County.

For more information, contact OBB’s Community Development Coordinator, Demi Kolke, at dkolke@obbinc.org or (412) 731-1908.


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GoBurgh’s Advocacy Update

Last modified on 2014-11-21 22:14:47 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Since the spring of 2013, GoBurgh has coordinated a transit advocacy coalition including a dozen local organizations deeply committed to seeing adequate, dedicated, growing, long-term, and reliable state funding for public transit. Despite a strong bill passed by the Senate in June (SB1), the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has not yet taken action to secure sustainable transportation funding.

To mobilize citizens and encourage legislative action, our transit advocacy coalition undertook a number of activities in September: public outreach at the Labor Day Parade and Park(ing) Day, a webinar, a press conference at the Kenmawr Bridge, and a business-labor event in Harrisburg. Many organizations and individuals have come together to tell our legislators that we need transportation funding for the safety of Pennsylvania’s citizens and the endurance of its economy.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to continue to spread the message that Pennsylvania needs the original Senate Bill 1 (Senate version). Here’s three ways you can help:

  1. Complete the form at this link and share it with your colleagues, friends, and family: http://action.atu.org/c/1542/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=7210
  2. Listen to the Transit Tales and share this link: https://www.youtube.com/transittalespgh
  3. Click below to check out GoBurgh’s infographics.

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Reimagining Communities: Sheraden Success Measures

Last modified on 2014-12-19 21:39:07 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Reimagining Communities is nearing the end of a major data collection and resident outreach project in Sheraden called Success Measures. Over the past couple months, important information about property conditions has been observed and recorded for over 1,000 parcels within a target census tract. This data will be compared to information collected a year ago and will help inform ongoing strategies to revitalize Sheraden’s housing stock.

In addition, a resident experience and perception survey has been administered to over 100 households within the same target area. Households were selected at random to ensure that the results are statistically representative of the population. ”We’ve been engaging a diverse range of people, from longtime homeowners to families new to the neighborhood who are renting,” says Steve Novotny, PCRG’s Community Coordinator in Sheraden. “People seem really excited to provide feedback and participate in these revitalization efforts. A growing number of residents have even volunteered their time to help collect surveys from their neighbors.”

The goal of the project is to survey a total of 264 households. The results will be analyzed to identify the strengths of the community and any opportunities that need to be pursued and improved upon.

For more information on our work in Sheraden, please contact Steve Novotny, PCRG’s Sheraden Community Coordinator, at 
steve@pcrg.org or (412) 391-6732 ext. 205.


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PCRG’s 4th Annual Community Development Summit

Last modified on 2014-11-21 22:14:54 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 14-15, 2014! PCRG is holding its 4th Annual Community Development Summit!

Last year, PCRG celebrated its 25th anniversary with the theme “25 Years of Building Complete Communities,” and our lunch keynote, Mitchell Silver, challenged attendees to think about the emerging 21st century trends. Mitchell, the former President of the American Planning Association (APA), said, “We are in this together,” and he emphasized the importance of working together across generations, across races/ethnicities, and across issues to improve our communities.

This year’s theme, Reaching Across Boundaries, builds off of Mitchell’s message, and PCRG invites you to learn about how we work together, across physical and social boundaries, to create a thriving region.  Join us on from May 14-15, 2014 for PCRG’s 4th Annual Community Development Summit.

For last year’s session presentations, visit PCRG’s website.  For more information or questions on PCRG’s 4th Annual Community Development Summit, contact our Neighborhood Policy Manager, Katie Hale, at khale@pcrg.org or (412) 391-6732 ext. 207.

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Fineview Step-A-Thon

Last modified on 2014-10-18 18:46:40 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Fineview’s Urban Step Challenge will take place THIS SATURDAY, October 19th, 2013 at 9:00AM.  Fineview’s Urban Step Challenge is a rugged 5-mile run and hike through one of Pittsburgh’s “Finest” North Side hill top neighborhoods.  Up and down huge stairways and hills, through the woods and along residential streets and ends at the scenic Catoma Street Overlook.

The Challenge is not only the race but also the trail itself!!  There are 47 turns marked with flags to guide you over the ever-changing terrain to assist you from getting lost along the way. You will face the mammoth Rising main Steps which is equivalent to climbing a 17-story building before you can cross the finish line where you will see one of the best views of the City!

For more information on registering for the event, contact info@fineviewstepathon.com or visit www.fineviewstepathon.com

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Homeownership Affordability Fund

Last modified on 2014-11-21 22:10:45 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


The Homeownership Affordability Fund (HAF) and PCRG, with support from Fifth Third Mortgage Company, will offer first-time homebuyers the final piece of financial assistance they may need to purchase a home affordably.  This program will be available exclusively to eligible Fifth Third Mortgage Company borrowers.

PCRG, in conjunction with Fifth Third Mortgage Company, will provide up to a $1,500 down payment or closing cost assistance grant to eligible Fifth Third Mortgage Company borrowers.  The grant consideration and approval process will be the sole responsibility of PCRG; Fifth Third Mortgage Company personnel will not be involved in the income eligibility verification for the grant.

To be eligible, grant applicants must:

  • Have household incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD);OR
  • Be borrowers purchasing a home in low-to moderate-income census tracts;

Funds only available to Fifth Third Mortgage Company borrowers as noted above.

For information regarding the steps for approval, click here.

Contact your local Fifth Third loan officer or Rachel Rue at PCRG (412-391-6732 ext. 202 or rrue@pcrg.org) for more information.

*The applicant’s mortgage loan application will continue to be processed even if the applicant is not approved for the grant fund, unless the mortgage loan application is withdrawn by the applicant.  If the grant application is denied, the applicant will be responsible for ensuring sufficient funds are available for down payment and/or closing costs related to the pending mortgage loan.

The information contained is subject to change without notice.  Loans are subject to credit review and approval. Fifth Third Mortgage Company, 5001 Kingsley Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227 an Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee.  Fifth Third Mortgage is the trade name used by Fifth Third Mortgage Company and Fifth Third Mortgage-MI, LLC.  Fifth Third and Fifth Third Bank are registered service marks of Fifth Third Bancorp. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

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Events and Announcements

Last modified on 2014-10-18 18:46:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Upcoming PCRG Meetings

 Vacant Property Working Group (VPWG)

Friday, November 8th



Thursday, November 21st


Other Events & Announcements

  • Meet the Commander on Your Corner: The commander on your corner project is a way of initiating dialogue, coordinating efforts, and establishing positive community relations in the various Zone Two neighborhoods. The next event will take place in Lawrenceville (45th Street and Butler) on October 18, 2013 from 10AM-12PM.  Questions can be addressed to: Marlese Porter, Zone Two Community Resource Officer at marlease.porter@pittsburghpa.gov or 412-255-2827.
  • Don’t miss the International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) networking event on October 24, 2013. This opportunity is specifically designed to foster and promote relationships between public officials and retail real estate professionals. Public-private partnerships are an important component of a thriving shopping district in both Downtown Pittsburgh and the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Uptown Partners is having a benefit dinner at Mad Mex Shadyside on Tuesday, November 12, at 7PM. The proceeds will benefit future greening and public art projects in Uptown.
  • The ten-person PCRG Bike Team biked over 3,700 miles, saved over 2,300 lbs of CO2, and finished in 24th place for the overall National Bike Challenge.  Thank you to Uptown Partners and Oakland Planning and Development Corporation for joining the PCRG Bike Team.  We look forward to recruiting more PCRG members for next year’s challenge!
  • Join the Ecodistrict Idea Share forum on Facebook to discuss the Ecological, Equity, and Economic challenges in planning resilient communities, put forth strategies for addressing them, and develop these ideas through collaboration.

If you are a PCRG member organization or partner, please let us know if you have upcoming events or announcements.  We would be happy to help you promote it through our social media and future newsletters.

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For more information on this newsletter, please contact Samuel K Su, PCRG’s Program Coordinator, at sam@pcrg.org or (412) 391-6732 ext. 210.

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Samuel Su

Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
Samuel works across many areas at PCRG, but spends most of his time on banking policy. He enjoys learning about all things related to nonprofit marketing and communications. Samuel is a resident of the Northside and a marathon runner. He holds an MSW and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.